100 books like POPism

By Andy Warhol, Pat Hackett,

Here are 100 books that POPism fans have personally recommended if you like POPism. 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 Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham

Louis Menand Author Of The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

From my list on memoirs from a wide array of people.

Who am I?

I started my career as a graduate student studying the Victorian period, a great age for autobiography. And although autobiography is no longer taught much in English departments, I guess I retain my passion for the genre. The greatest, of course, is Rousseau’s Confessions.

Louis' book list on memoirs from a wide array of people

Louis Menand Why did Louis love this book?

Even if you know nothing about dance, this (not short) memoir takes you inside one of the most imaginative collaborations of the twentieth-century avant-garde, and gives you the flavor of some of its extraordinary characters—not only Cage and Cunningham, but Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Morton Feldman, and others.

By Carolyn Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Carolyn Brown, one of the most renowned dancers of the last half-century, lived at the center of New York's bold and vibrant artistic community, which included not only dancers and choreographers but composers and painters as well. Brown's memoir recounts her own remarkable twenty-year tenure with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and provides a first-hand account of a pivotal period in twentieth-century art.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Brown developed close relationships with musical director John Cage and set-designer Robert Rauschenberg and with Cunningham himself. Brown's memoir reveals the personal dynamics between the reserved and moody Cunningham and the…


Book cover of Tristes Tropiques

William Ophuls Author Of Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology

From my list on modern politics and industrial civilization.

Who am I?

William Ophuls served as a Foreign Service Officer in Washington, Abidjan, and Tokyo before receiving a PhD in political science from Yale University in 1973. His Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity published in 1977 laid bare the ecological, social, and political challenges confronting modern industrial civilization. It was honored by the Kammerer and Sprout awards. After teaching briefly at Northwestern University, he became an independent scholar and author. He has since published a number of works extending and deepening his original argument, most prominently Requiem for Modern Politics in 1997, Plato’s Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology in 2011, and Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail in 2013.

William's book list on modern politics and industrial civilization

William Ophuls Why did William love this book?

A classic work of philosophical anthropology containing the record of one anthropologist’s search for what it means to be human. Part personal memoir, part vivid travelogue, part scientific milestone, part critique of civilization, and all tour de force, the work defies easy categorization. Another rich playground for the intellect.

By Claude Levi-Strauss, Doreen Weightman, John Weightman

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A milestone in the study of culture from the father of structural anthropology

This watershed work records Claude Lévi-Strauss's search for "a human society reduced to its most basic expression." From the Amazon basin through the dense upland jungles of Brazil, Lévi-Strauss found the societies he was seeking among the Caduveo, Bororo, Nambikwara, and Tupi-Kawahib. More than merely recounting his time in their midst, Tristes Tropiques places the cultural practices of these peoples in a global context and extrapolates a fascinating theory of culture that has given the book an importance far beyond the fields of anthropology and continental philosophy.…


Book cover of A Dance with Fred Astaire

Louis Menand Author Of The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

From my list on memoirs from a wide array of people.

Who am I?

I started my career as a graduate student studying the Victorian period, a great age for autobiography. And although autobiography is no longer taught much in English departments, I guess I retain my passion for the genre. The greatest, of course, is Rousseau’s Confessions.

Louis' book list on memoirs from a wide array of people

Louis Menand Why did Louis love this book?

Mekas was a Lithuanian émigré who became an impresario of experimental cinema. He lived a long and eventful life, and this eccentric book is a fascinating account of it.

By Jonas Mekas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dance with Fred Astaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Dance with Fred Astaire is an extraordinary collection of anecdotes and rare ephemera featuring a dizzying cast of cultural icons both underground and mainstream, both obscure and celebrated. Memories and diary entries, conversations and insights into his work sit alongside collages of beautifully reproduced postcards, newspaper cuttings, film negatives, lists, posters and photographs, envelopes and letters, book covers, telegrams, cartoons and doodles. Mekas has kept and archived the artifacts of his life as a cultural touchstone down to the minutiae, all of which is brought together here in the form of a unique and fascinating scrapbook of a life…


Book cover of The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age

Louis Menand Author Of The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

From my list on memoirs from a wide array of people.

Who am I?

I started my career as a graduate student studying the Victorian period, a great age for autobiography. And although autobiography is no longer taught much in English departments, I guess I retain my passion for the genre. The greatest, of course, is Rousseau’s Confessions.

Louis' book list on memoirs from a wide array of people

Louis Menand Why did Louis love this book?

Despite the cheesy title, this is a revealing window on the world of postwar publishing. Seaver “discovered” Samuel Beckett as a graduate student in Paris after the war, and he eventually became an editor at Beckett’s American publisher, Grove, during its heyday under Barney Rosset.

By Richard Seaver,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Richard Seaver came to Paris in 1950 seeking Hemingway's moveable feast. Paris had become a different city, traumatized by World War II, yet the red wine still flowed, the cafes bustled, and the Parisian women found American men exotic and heroic. There was an Irishman in Paris writing plays and novels unlike anything anyone had ever read - but hardly anyone was reading them. There were others, too, doing equivalently groundbreaking work for equivalently small audiences. So when his friends launched a literary magazine, "Merlin", Seaver knew this was his calling: to bring the work of the likes of Samuel…


Book cover of Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol

Fred Chao Author Of Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero

From my list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process.

Who am I?

I'm the writer and artist of the Johnny Hiro graphic novels. In those books, I use pop culture reference humor, but never simply as a joke. A reference can act as a hint to a world beyond the story the writer tells. I often dig slightly into an emotional resonance behind that reference—perhaps the (fictional) story of why it exists, or perhaps it even becomes an integral plot point. Popular media and culture often have a direct influence on our creative arts projects. And just sometimes, that art becomes an integral part of the popular culture itself.

Fred's book list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process

Fred Chao Why did Fred love this book?

I’ve read a handful of Warhol biographies and this is easily my favorite. It does a good job of breaking down his life experiences, his art and the philosophies behind The Factory, his purposeful creation of himself as an icon, and his adaptations to the American fine art and underground art landscapes that changed throughout his career. The book also has plenty of great party stories involving countless celeb friends. And to offset that all, peaks into his spending. The one bummer for me was that there weren’t enough pictures. But, well, I guess that’s what all my other Warhol books are for.

By Tony Scherman, David Dalton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol is a groundbreaking reassessment of the most influential and controversial American artist of the second half of the 20th century. Writers Tony Scherman and David Dalton disentangle the myths of the great pop artist from the man he truly was, and offer a vivid, entertaining, and provocative look at Warhol’s personal and artistic evolution. Drawing on brand new sources—including extensive new interviews and insight from those who knew him best—Pop offers the most dynamic, comprehensive portrait ever written of the man who changed the way we see the world.


Book cover of Information is Beautiful

Roger Highfield Author Of The Dance of Life: Symmetry, Cells and How We Become Human

From my list on what big data is and how it impacts us.

Who am I?

I’m the Science Director of the Science Museum Group, based at the Science Museum in London, and visiting professor at the Dunn School, University of Oxford, and Department of Chemistry, University College London. Every time I write a book I swear that it will be my last and yet I'm now working on my ninth, after earlier forays into the physics of Christmas and the love life of Albert Einstein. Working with Peter Coveney of UCL, we're exploring ideas about computation and complexity we tackled in our two earlier books, along with the revolutionary implications of creating digital twins of people from the colossal amount of patient data now flowing from labs worldwide.

Roger's book list on what big data is and how it impacts us

Roger Highfield Why did Roger love this book?

Big data can be beautiful and visualisations make for a wonderful coffee-table book. In Information is Beautiful, David McCandless turns dry-as-dust data into pop art to show the kind of world we live in, linking politics to life expectancy, women’s education to GDP growth, and more. Through colourful graphics, we get vivid and novel perspectives on current obsessions, from maps of cliches to the most fashionable colours. A testament to how the power of big data comes from being able to distill information to reveal hidden patterns and discern trends. 

By David McCandless,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A visual guide to the way the world really works

Every day, every hour, every minute we are bombarded by information - from television, from newspapers, from the internet, we're steeped in it, maybe even lost in it. We need a new way to relate to it, to discover the beauty and the fun of information for information's sake.
No dry facts, theories or statistics. Instead, Information is Beautiful contains visually stunning displays of information that blend the facts with their connections, their context and their relationships - making information meaningful, entertaining and beautiful.
This is information like you have…


Book cover of David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Cat Bennett Author Of The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind

From my list on art and creativity.

Who am I?

I’ve been an artist all my life. In childhood, I was always drawing and after graduating from university I became an illustrator doing hundreds of drawings for major newspapers and publishers in the United States for over 25 years. It was my mission, no matter what was going on in the world, to find some humor and lightness to share through my drawings. About 15 years ago, I also began to teach drawing to adults and was amazed to discover that everyone can draw. When I saw how people seemed to become happier and bolder making art I became passionate about sharing how we can grow our creativity by developing an art practice. It makes for a beautiful life and quite possibly a more beautiful world.

Cat's book list on art and creativity

Cat Bennett Why did Cat love this book?

This is a purely visual book of portraits by David Hockney from the beginning of his career until he is nearly 80. It’s full of different styles of drawing and painting and, for that reason, is the kind of book that stimulates visual ideas and makes me want to go straight to the drawing board. In other words, it really gets us thinking in some new ways about how we interpret the world around us in drawing and painting. It’s a good reminder of the pleasures of looking and making.

By David Hockney (illustrator), Sarah Howgate,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book, which accompanies the first major exhibition devoted to David Hockney's drawings inover 20 years,will explore Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950s to now, with a focus on himself, his family and friends. From Ingres to the iPad -this book demonstrates the artist's ingenuity in portrait drawing with reference to both tradition and technology.

David Hockney is recognised as one of the master draughtsmen of our times and a champion of the medium. This book will feature Hockney's work from the 1950s to now and focus on his depictions of himself and a smaller group of sitters close…


Book cover of 20th Century Ghosts

Kenneth W. Cain Author Of Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction

From my list on short story collections.

Who am I?

I grew up reading short stories in the annual Reader’s Digest books my parents collected, so I’ve always liked the short form. Perhaps that is why I pursued it in college, wanting to know what made them work. So I took a lot of classes in college to do just that, to dissect stories to see what made them resonate with readers. And although I’ve been trying to push myself to write longer fiction, I’ll never be able to fully abandon the short fiction. I love a story you can read in a day and think about all night.

Kenneth's book list on short story collections

Kenneth W. Cain Why did Kenneth love this book?

Besides the fact that Joe Hill is one of my favorite writers at the moment, this collection is 100% solid writing. Also, one of my favorite stories, “Pop Art,” is included in the book. To me, the sense of ambiguity, of using one otherworldly concept to stand for something so plain and simple, addressing current issues through your fiction are all present in that story.

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 20th Century Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imogene is young, beautiful, kisses like a movie star, and knows everything about every film ever made. She's also dead, the legendary ghost of the Rosebud Theater. Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with a head full of big ideas and a gift for getting his ass kicked. It's hard to make friends when you're the only inflatable boy in town. Francis is unhappy, picked on; he doesn't have a life, a hope, a chance. Francis was human once, but that's behind him now. John Finney is in trouble. The kidnapper locked him in a basement, a place stained with…


Book cover of Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up

Michael Findlay Author Of Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art

From my list on making modern art exciting.

Who am I?

I have spent an exciting half-century in the New York art world as a dealer and an author and while my passion is to encourage people to enjoy art for art’s sake (rather than money or prestige) my many close friendships with artists demonstrate how much their life informs their art. The authors of these five books bring the art as well as the artists to life.

Michael's book list on making modern art exciting

Michael Findlay Why did Michael love this book?

Of the many biographies of Andy Warhol this early one remains the best, written by a man who worked and partied with the artist in the heyday of the artist’s glamorous world (and I make another brief cameo appearance). Everything about the enigmatic icon of contemporary art continues to inform our culture and I was deeply influenced not only by Warhol’s paintings but by my friendship with him from 1964 until his death in 1987. In books and movies he has been transformed into a cultural icon rather than the complicated amusing hard-working artist I knew. Bob Colacello wrote this book shortly after Warhol died and for me is the best portrait of the “real” Andy Warhol and the era he helped to define.

By Bob Colacello,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the 1960s, Andy Warhol’s paintings redefined modern art. His films provoked heated controversy, and his Factory was a hangout for the avant-garde. In the 1970s, after Valerie Solanas’s attempt on his life, Warhol become more entrepreneurial, aligning himself with the rich and famous. Bob Colacello, the editor of Warhol’s Interview magazine, spent that decade by Andy’s side as employee, collaborator, wingman, and confidante.

In these pages, Colacello takes us there with Andy: into the Factory office, into Studio 54, into wild celebrity-studded parties, and into the early-morning phone calls where the mysterious artist was at his most honest and…


Book cover of Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art

Mariah Fox Author Of SAMO©...SINCE 1978: SAMO©...Writings: 1978-2018

From my list on celebrated and controversial artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Who am I?

I ardently began research and writing on Jean-Michel Basquiat in grad school (2004), before his paintings demolished sales records and when he was still somewhat misunderstood and marginalized by perplexed art historians. Since then, his potency and intrigue have blazed a global pop culture inferno. I’ve conducted dozens of interviews, befriended those close to him, memorized his lines, colors, words, and spaces in books and real life, and re-read countless pages. Currently I’m writing and compiling a field guide to his work. All Basquiat publications are imperfect. I hope with sensitivity and intellectual intent, fans can move through their initial impressions to better understand his meaningful motives, inclinations, and artwork.

Mariah's book list on celebrated and controversial artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Mariah Fox Why did Mariah love this book?

I am conflicted recommending this book. I detest this bestselling biography’s gossipy tone concerning Jean-Michel Basquiat’s personal and professional drama.

Yet many of these disturbances are unpleasantly true, and Hoban extensively, tediously researched her book. When I forget key names, or need to reference milestones, I look in the glossary and chapters. Chronologically it is helpful, but loosely delivered.

A revised edition would make a lot of sense, with so much discovery since its publication. The expansiveness, thoroughness, and ambition keep this book useful to me. Readers should take this exhaustive bio with a grain of salt, because of its biased fixation on the negative curiosities of Basquiat’s legacy.

In addition, with so much new information being revealed, researchers must cross-reference all facts taken from this title.

By Phoebe Hoban,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The tragic story of the talented painter Jean-Michel Basquiat details his turbulent childhood, explosive dealings with the elite art world, relationships with such figures as Andy Warhol and Madonna, and rise to fame, which led to his death from a drug overdose at the age of twenty-seven. 12,000 first printing.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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