100 books like Poetics

By Aristotle, Joe Sachs (translator),

Here are 100 books that Poetics fans have personally recommended if you like Poetics. 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 The Prophet

Gabrielle Yetter Author Of And The Clouds Parted: A collection of poetry

From my list on keeping you going when challenges get you down.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. And a chronic glass-half-full individual. While working as a journalist in South Africa, I managed to stay away from sensitive subjects and gravitated toward films, restaurants, and travel. I also wrote interviews with people. Which led me to write an illustrated poetry book – mostly through observing people and imagining what makes them tick. My novel, Whisper of the Lotus, was based in Cambodia where I lived for four years and fell in love with the culture. I also wrote two children’s books (Ogden The Fish Who Couldn’t Swim Straight and Martha the Blue Sheep). Yes, they all had messages. Mostly about hope.

Gabrielle's book list on keeping you going when challenges get you down

Gabrielle Yetter Why did Gabrielle love this book?

The Prophet was one of the first inspirational books I read, and it left a lasting impression. Gibran is a master of words and intuition, and his book (first published in 1923) has never been out of print which is a feat in itself. It’s a collection of spiritual messages about life, love, death, family, and work that can be hand-picked any time you’re looking for insight. Lines such as, Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror,” and “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.Pure poetry. 

By Kahlil Gibran,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in the 1920s, this book attempts to provide the reader with a guide to living. Gibran lets his protagonist, called simply the prophet, deliver homilies on a variety of topics central to daily life: love marriage and children, work and play, possessions, beauty, truth, joy and sorrow and death.


Book cover of Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting

David Baboulene Author Of The Primary Colours of Story

From my list on how stories work and how to write your story.

Who am I?

I was lucky enough not only to get published in my thirties, I also got a film deal for those first two books. I was flown to Hollywood and it was all very grand. However, what they did to my stories in translating them into film scripts horrified me. And ruined them. And the films never got made. I started to look deeper into what ‘experts’ did, and it was awful. I became obsessed with how stories work, developed my own ‘knowledge gap’ theory, proved it through my Ph.D. research, and became a story consultant in the industry. Story theory has completely taken over my life and I love it!

David's book list on how stories work and how to write your story

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

This was the first story theory book I read and it was hugely influential on me, because it is probably the definitive work in terms of a formulaic, structural approach to story.

This book gave me a depth of knowledge of the traditional approach to story theory, but also a clear understanding of how people in the film industry are going about their work today. It is all wrong, in my opinion, but it is also the truth of what is going on.

It is wrong because a story does not begin with structure. A story begins in the mind, and a structure arrives later once the story is present. This book set me on my journey to find an alternative to structure.

By Robert McKee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Structure is Character. Characters are what they do. Story events impact the characters and the characters impact events. Actions and reactions create revelation and insight, opening the door to a meaningful emotional experience for the audience. Story is what elevates a film, a novel, a play, or teleplay, transforming a good work into a great one. Movie-making in particular is a collaborative endeavour - requiring great skill and talent by the entire cast, crew and creative team - but the screenwriter is the only original artist on a film. Everyone else - the actors, directors, cameramen, production designers, editors, special…


Book cover of The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

David Baboulene Author Of The Primary Colours of Story

From my list on how stories work and how to write your story.

Who am I?

I was lucky enough not only to get published in my thirties, I also got a film deal for those first two books. I was flown to Hollywood and it was all very grand. However, what they did to my stories in translating them into film scripts horrified me. And ruined them. And the films never got made. I started to look deeper into what ‘experts’ did, and it was awful. I became obsessed with how stories work, developed my own ‘knowledge gap’ theory, proved it through my Ph.D. research, and became a story consultant in the industry. Story theory has completely taken over my life and I love it!

David's book list on how stories work and how to write your story

David Baboulene Why did David love this book?

This book is different. After a slew of books all pedaling the same material based on the dreaded Hollywood formula, it was really good to find something that bucked the trend. 

Truby focuses on morality in stories. He maintains that every story is actually a moral argument, and gives his practical steps for harnessing that morality and using it to create a strong story. 

I feel there is a lot to be said for this. The only real flaw is that there are actually twelve sensible bases for a story and although the moral argument is undeniably one of those that generates a strong story, it is important for writers to understand all of them.

By John Truby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"If you're ready to graduate from the boy-meets-girl league of screenwriting, meet John Truby . . . [his lessons inspire] epiphanies that make you see the contours of your psyche as sharply as your script."
―LA Weekly

John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. The Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his…


Book cover of Art

Noël Carroll Author Of Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction

From my list on philosophy that surveys the arts.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy, specializing in the philosophy of art at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When I was a practicing critic, notably of cinema, I backed into philosophy insofar as being a practitioner forced me to ask abstract questions about what I was doing. I have written over fifteen books as well as five documentaries. I am also a former Guggenheim fellow. 

Noël's book list on philosophy that surveys the arts

Noël Carroll Why did Noël love this book?

This book was instrumental in introducing the English-speaking world to Modern Art. As criticism, it taught readers how to appreciate Neo-Impressionism. But it was also a seminal contribution to Anglo-American philosophy. By demanding an answer to the question “What is Art?” Bell set the agenda for subsequent philosophers who sought to develop a definition of art in response. Bell’s own answer is that something is art if and only if it possesses significant form which itself is the cause of aesthetic emotions. Bell’s emphasis on significant form earned him a reputation as one of the foremost Philosophical Formalists.

By Clive Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism

Noël Carroll Author Of Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction

From my list on philosophy that surveys the arts.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy, specializing in the philosophy of art at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When I was a practicing critic, notably of cinema, I backed into philosophy insofar as being a practitioner forced me to ask abstract questions about what I was doing. I have written over fifteen books as well as five documentaries. I am also a former Guggenheim fellow. 

Noël's book list on philosophy that surveys the arts

Noël Carroll Why did Noël love this book?

Originally published in 1958 as a textbook, when Aesthetics was updated, it was recognized as the “summa” of the aesthetic theory of art. This is the view that something is art just in case it is made with the intention to afford a certain magnitude of aesthetic experience. Because of his emphasis on aesthetic experience, Beardsley defended the notion of the autonomy of art – the idea that art is essentially independent of all other social practices. Using this lens, Beardsley explores an impressive range of topics including literature, fiction, pictorial representation, criticism, and interpretation.

By Monroe Beardsley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This second edition features a new 48-page Afterword--1980 updating Professor Beardsley's classic work.


Book cover of Languages of Art

Noël Carroll Author Of Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction

From my list on philosophy that surveys the arts.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy, specializing in the philosophy of art at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When I was a practicing critic, notably of cinema, I backed into philosophy insofar as being a practitioner forced me to ask abstract questions about what I was doing. I have written over fifteen books as well as five documentaries. I am also a former Guggenheim fellow. 

Noël's book list on philosophy that surveys the arts

Noël Carroll Why did Noël love this book?

Because of his prior reputation as a metaphysician and epistemologist, when Nelson Goodman turned his attention to the philosophy of art, he lent unprecedented prestige to aesthetics. In his book, Goodman treats art as a matter of symbol systems whose major structures include representation, exemplification, and expression. Given his emphasis on symbolism, Goodman regarded artistic projects, like picturing, as conventional and he maintained that our conviction of the realism of pictorial representations was merely an affair of our habituation to various styles. Languages of Art is a book noteworthy for its bold and bracing literary style.

By Nelson Goodman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Like Dewey, he has revolted against the empiricist dogma and the Kantian dualisms which have compartmentalized philosophical thought. . . . Unlike Dewey, he has provided detailed incisive argumentation, and has shown just where the dogmas and dualisms break down." --Richard Rorty, The Yale Review


Book cover of After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History

Noël Carroll Author Of Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction

From my list on philosophy that surveys the arts.

Who am I?

I am a professor of philosophy, specializing in the philosophy of art at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When I was a practicing critic, notably of cinema, I backed into philosophy insofar as being a practitioner forced me to ask abstract questions about what I was doing. I have written over fifteen books as well as five documentaries. I am also a former Guggenheim fellow. 

Noël's book list on philosophy that surveys the arts

Noël Carroll Why did Noël love this book?

This book is an amazing combination of the philosophy of art, the philosophy of art history, and art criticism. The late Arthur Danto was not only a distinguished philosopher but also an award-winning art critic. In this book, Danto tracks the decline and fall of Modernism (which he describes as “the end of art”) and the advent of our present artistic moment which can be critically characterized as an era of post-historical pluralism. Danto, following GFW Hegel, proposes a partial definition of the artwork as an embodied meaning – thereby addressing the challenge to say what art is -- as it was posed by Clive Bell.

By Arthur C Danto,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally delivered as the prestigious Mellon Lectures on the Fine Arts in 1995, After the End of Art remains a classic of art criticism and philosophy, and continues to generate heated debate for contending that art ended in the 1960s. Arthur Danto, one of the best-known art critics of his time, presents radical insights into art's irrevocable deviation from its previous course and the decline of traditional aesthetics. He demonstrates the necessity for a new type of criticism in the face of contemporary art's wide-open possibilities. This Princeton Classics edition includes a new foreword by philosopher Lydia Goehr.


Book cover of You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense

Zachary Austin Behlok Author Of Perspectives

From my list on understanding the world around you.

Who am I?

For as long as I can remember, it has been of the utmost importance to find meaning in life—both for myself and for everyone else. I have spent much of my time in the past few years pushing for continued discourse in the fields of philosophy and psychology. I have studied at various educational institutions in these fields, and have thus used that knowledge to discuss topics relating to such on my podcast, Think More, which can be found on Spotify. I founded an online journal titled Modern Rebellion in the hopes of assisting contemporary artists and intellectuals with getting their work out there into the public eye.

Zachary Austin's book list on understanding the world around you

Zachary Austin Behlok Why did Zachary Austin love this book?

Bukowski had a unique perspective on the world, and anyone who has read his work would most definitely agree. This book, which is a collection of some of Bukowski’s greatest pieces in my opinion, has a way of resonating with you on a personal level. Whether it be gaining a newfound perspective on the animals that scurry around our yards, or of a gambler wasting away in a casino on a Monday afternoon, Bukowski has a knack for bringing up the world’s problems in a way that is both depressing and humorous at the same time, while also giving peeks at his wit and charm as well.

By Charles Bukowski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Charles Bukowski examines cats and his childhood in You Get So Alone at Times, a book of poetry that reveals his tender side. He delves into his youth to analyze its repercussions.


Book cover of The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

Krystale Jane'l Author Of Paradise of the Undead

From my list on horror that were adapted into film to haunt you.

Who am I?

I've been a horror fanatic since I was a little girl. At the age of 7, I was attempting to write my first horror novel, My Teacher is a Vampire, and at age of 9, I had already read my mom’s copy of, It. By the age of 16, I read the majority of Stephen King’s novels and was fascinated with Nosferatu, the original vampire, Vincent Price - the master of horror, and George Romero. When people ask why do I love the horror genre so much…my answer is: I’d rather read about the monsters in books and in movies instead of reading the newspaper or turning on the news and see the real monsters.

Krystale's book list on horror that were adapted into film to haunt you

Krystale Jane'l Why did Krystale love this book?

Although this is a short story, I have to add this one to my list. Edgar Allan Poe’s witty and crafty way of telling this tale of murder and paranoia is by far chilling and brilliantly crafted. Of course, Poe can do no wrong in my eyes with his cryptic tales. This story was later crafted into a not-so-good movie, but I’m sure true Edgar Allan Poe fans can appreciate the modern visual.

By Edgar Allan Poe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

A masquerade ball in a secluded abbey; a vendetta settled in the wine cellars of an Italian palazzo; a gloomy castle in a desolated landscape; the beating of a heart beneath the floorboards: the plots and settings of Poe's dark, mysterious tales continue to haunt the popular imagination. This new selection introduces the greatest Gothic fiction from one of the most deranged and deliciously weird writers of the nineteenth century. The tales are accompanied by the classic illustrations of Harry Clarke, an artist fully alive to the deep darkness at the heart of Poe's writing.


Book cover of Dante's Inferno

Zachary Austin Behlok Author Of Perspectives

From my list on understanding the world around you.

Who am I?

For as long as I can remember, it has been of the utmost importance to find meaning in life—both for myself and for everyone else. I have spent much of my time in the past few years pushing for continued discourse in the fields of philosophy and psychology. I have studied at various educational institutions in these fields, and have thus used that knowledge to discuss topics relating to such on my podcast, Think More, which can be found on Spotify. I founded an online journal titled Modern Rebellion in the hopes of assisting contemporary artists and intellectuals with getting their work out there into the public eye.

Zachary Austin's book list on understanding the world around you

Zachary Austin Behlok Why did Zachary Austin love this book?

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, by many accounts, is the most accurate and true portrayal of Hell. It has been long speculated whether or not Dante, by means of dreaming or some other metaphysical affair, was truly able to visit Hell—the ways in which he describes the deadly sins of human life proves to be both very emotional and very comprehendible, in a way that can push one to both care more for the way that they choose to live, care more for the ways that they treat others, as well as understand the burdens of life and thus realize that it could, in some way, be worse off than it presently seems. 

By Dante Alighieri, Charles Eliot Norton (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part one of Dante's masterpiece The Divine Comedy, designed with a smaller format for easy portability.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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