100 books like Slacks and Calluses

By Constance Bowman Reid, Clara Marie Allen (illustrator),

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Kate Andersen Brower Author Of Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon

From my list on rule-breaking, risk-taking, bad a$# women.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I covered the White House as a young reporter I was always more interested in understanding what was happening in the upstairs residence than in what briefings we were getting from the president’s advisers in the Roosevelt Room. I was raised with the understanding that in the end everyone is equal and that no one, no matter how powerful they are, gets out of the human experience. I think that’s what makes me interested in iconic women, from Elizabeth Taylor to Betty Ford. There’s nothing I like better than reading their letters and trying to understand what made them tick, and how they navigated their complicated and very public lives.

Kate's book list on rule-breaking, risk-taking, bad a$# women

Kate Andersen Brower Why did Kate love this book?

My friend Denise Kiernan shines a light on the thousands of women who worked on the Manhattan Project.

If you’ve seen Oppenheimer and you’re interested in the story behind the development of the atomic bomb, then this book will help you understand the hidden figures behind its creation. What I love the most about Denise’s writing is the way that she brings the mysterious origins of Oak Ridge, a Tennessee town created to house the people working on the bomb, to life. 

At a time when the stakes couldn’t have been higher, women were at the center of the story.

By Denise Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Girls of Atomic City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller, now available in paperback—an incredible true story of the top-secret World War II town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the young women brought there unknowingly to help build the atomic bomb.

“The best kind of nonfiction: marvelously reported, fluidly written, and a remarkable story...As meticulous and brilliant as it is compulsively readable.” —Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, and consumed more electricity than New York City, yet it was shrouded in such secrecy that it did not…


Book cover of Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II

Merrill J. Davies Author Of Becoming Jestina

From my list on how women helped win World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

After teaching high school English for thirty-one years, I retired and began my second career in writing. I have published five novels and one collection of poetry. When I met Jane Tucker in 1974, she became a good friend, fellow church member, and my dental hygienist. I had no idea she had worked as a welder on Liberty Ships during World War II when she was only sixteen years old. After I learned this in 2012, I began my journey into learning all about the Rosies during World War II and writing my fourth novel Becoming Jestina. Jane’s story is an amazing one, and I still talk to her regularly.

Merrill's book list on how women helped win World War II

Merrill J. Davies Why did Merrill love this book?

I recommend this book because it gives a broader picture of the women who changed the way women participate in society forever. It wasn’t just building bombs, liberty ships, and planes that women had a part in. It was everything! When I’ve talked to women who lived during that time, and when I read this book, I realized how many ways women changed during that period of history.

By Emily Yellin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Our Mothers' War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Our Mothers' War is a stunning and unprecedented portrait of women during World War II, a war that forever transformed the way women participate in American society.

Never before has the vast range of women's experiences during this pivotal era been brought together in one book. Now, Our Mothers' War re-creates what American women from all walks of life were doing and thinking, on the home front and abroad. These heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking accounts of the women we have known as mothers, aunts, and grandmothers reveal facets of their lives that have usually remained unmentioned and unappreciated.

Our Mothers'…


Book cover of On the Swing Shift: Building Liberty Ships in Savannah

Merrill J. Davies Author Of Becoming Jestina

From my list on how women helped win World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

After teaching high school English for thirty-one years, I retired and began my second career in writing. I have published five novels and one collection of poetry. When I met Jane Tucker in 1974, she became a good friend, fellow church member, and my dental hygienist. I had no idea she had worked as a welder on Liberty Ships during World War II when she was only sixteen years old. After I learned this in 2012, I began my journey into learning all about the Rosies during World War II and writing my fourth novel Becoming Jestina. Jane’s story is an amazing one, and I still talk to her regularly.

Merrill's book list on how women helped win World War II

Merrill J. Davies Why did Merrill love this book?

I recommend this book because it not only helped me understand the role of women during the war, but also the whole culture of Savannah, Georgia, during that time. Tony Cope was a young child in Savannah during World War II and was very familiar with the Southeastern Shipyards. When he returned as an adult and realized that most people in the city did not even know the shipyards had existed, he was determined to make sure that part of Savannah’s history wasn’t lost. His interviews with those who had worked in the shipyards are fascinating and enlightening.

By Tony Cope,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During World War II eighty-eight of the almost three thousand Liberty ships built in America were launched in Savannah, Georgia. Without Liberty ships, the Battle of the Atlantic might have been lost.

Few remember the Liberty ships today; fewer remember the shipyard or that the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation was the largest industry ever located there. The land on which this shipyard stood is now derelict. Thousands drive by it every day and have no idea of the great contribution to the war effort that was made on that site.

This social history tells the story of the men and women…


Book cover of Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II

Merrill J. Davies Author Of Becoming Jestina

From my list on how women helped win World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

After teaching high school English for thirty-one years, I retired and began my second career in writing. I have published five novels and one collection of poetry. When I met Jane Tucker in 1974, she became a good friend, fellow church member, and my dental hygienist. I had no idea she had worked as a welder on Liberty Ships during World War II when she was only sixteen years old. After I learned this in 2012, I began my journey into learning all about the Rosies during World War II and writing my fourth novel Becoming Jestina. Jane’s story is an amazing one, and I still talk to her regularly.

Merrill's book list on how women helped win World War II

Merrill J. Davies Why did Merrill love this book?

No list of books about women’s work during World War II would be complete without Penny Coleman’s book. If you just want an overall picture of how eighteen million women, many of whom had never before held a job, entered the workforce in 1942-45 to help the US fight World War II, then this is the book for you! The book is illustrated with black and white photographs. It is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

By Penny Colman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Illustrated with black-and-white photographs. When America's men went off to war in 1942, millions of women were recruited, through posters and other propaganda, to work at non-traditional jobs.  In defense plants, factories, offices, and everywhere else workers were needed, they were--for the first time--well paid and financially independent.  But eventually the war ended, and the government and industries that had once persuaded them to work for the war effort now instructed them to return home and take care of their husbands and children.  Based on interviews and original research by noted historian Penny Colman, Rosie the Riveter shows young readers…


Book cover of Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families

Dedeker Winston Author Of The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know about Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love

From my list on to figure out if polyamory is right for you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been practicing some flavor of non-monogamy for over a decade now—and how much has changed in the past few years! In my coaching practice, I’ve seen an increase in clients who are trying to evaluate what kind of relationship is best for them. Many people know that the traditional dating game and lifelong monogamy are not for them, but they also feel concerned, intimidated, or confused by exploring non-monogamy. These books have helped many of my clients get perspective on how non-monogamous relationships work in real life. 

Dedeker's book list on to figure out if polyamory is right for you

Dedeker Winston Why did Dedeker love this book?

Whenever I’m working with clients who are trying to figure out if polyamory is for them, I always recommend finding a way to connect to real-life polyamorous folks. It’s so important to hear genuine stories from a wide variety of perspectives—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Going to a local meetup group is the best way to do this, but reading this book comes in at a close second. Dr. Eli Sheff, a researcher who has conducted several longitudinal studies on polyamorous families, presents this compilation of personal stories from many different folks in non-monogamous families and networks. These stories span the range from hilarious to heartbreaking. 

Book cover of If You Lived Here You'd Be Famous by Now: True Stories from Calabasas

María Amparo Escandón Author Of L.A. Weather

From my list on changing your perception of Los Angeles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a creature of habitat. I can’t help but connect with my environment in every possible way. It’s physical, emotional. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Mexico City. Leaving was heart-wrenching, but the promise to fulfill a dream drew me to Los Angeles. During the next four decades I became a student of Los Angeles and the Latino community that populates it. I agree with Randy Newman: I love L.A. 

María's book list on changing your perception of Los Angeles

María Amparo Escandón Why did María love this book?

If You Lived Here You’d Be Famous By Now is a debut novel by Via Bleidner, a young writer who reports her experiences living in the L.A./San Fernando Valley enclave of Calabasas, attending the Calabasas High School. Calabasas, for those who have missed this essential chapter of contemporary lunacy, is home to the Kardashians. Bleidner writes about the world she has inhabited as a reporter. She participates, but she also is able to maintain a certain writer's detachment describing the shenanigans the natives engage in: lip surgery, social media, and dog celebrities. But there is humor in this slice of the L.A. experience. Bleidner not only describes, but also tries to understand and reflect. 

By Via Bleidner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Lived Here You'd Be Famous by Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If You Lived Here You'd Be Famous by Now is an insider's collection of funny and warmhearted stories about coming of age in the Los Angeles suburb famed for birthing the Kardashian-Jenners and the Bling Ring.

For Via Bleidner, transferring to Calabasas High from the private Catholic school she's attended since second grade is a culture shock, not to mention absolutely lonely. Suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar world of celebrities, affluenza, and McMansions, Via takes a page from Cameron Crowe and pretends she's on a journalism assignment, taking notes on her classmates and jotting down bits of overheard gossip.

Getting…


Book cover of The Peregrine

Brett Bourbon Author Of Everyday Poetics: Logic, Love, and Ethics

From my list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found.

Why am I passionate about this?

Poems irritated me as a child. They seemed parodies of counting, chants of rhythm, and repetition. I included them in my moratorium against reading fiction. On the other hand, I respected the alphabet, a kind of poem of pure form. It was orderly for no good reason and didn't mean anything. So I concluded that poems were meaningless forms that had their uses, but were not serious. I changed my mind, but it took a while—studying math and science, theology, and then philosophy and literature. I'm now a professor who studies and teaches modern literature and philosophy. I got my Ph.D. from Harvard, became a professor at Stanford, and teach at the University of Dallas.

Brett's book list on the ethics and art of getting lost and being found

Brett Bourbon Why did Brett love this book?

A photograph gives me the form of the bird, but it remains up to me to see the bird as a bird. And that can be difficult. What do we see when we see a bird? 

The Peregrine, J. A. Baker’s masterpiece of descriptive prose, provides an answer, an answer that is as much about how we see as it is about what we see when we see birds. Sometimes we pull ourselves into the sight of others and the world emerges as more than its light. We see by being seen.

Baker achieves this kind of seeing both in his efforts to see a pair of peregrines and in his description of this achievement. 

By J.A. Baker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

David Attenborough reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing.

The nation's greatest voice, David Attenborough, reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing, The Peregrine.

J. A. Baker's classic of British nature writing was first published in 1967. Greeted with acclaim, it went on to win the Duff Cooper Prize, the pre-eminent literary prize of the time. Luminaries such as Ted Hughes, Barry Lopez and Andrew Motion have cited it as one of the most important books in twentieth-century nature writing.

Despite the association of peregrines with the wild, outer reaches of the British Isles,…


Book cover of Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

From my list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

J.B. West was a White House Usher from 1941 to 1969. His book details many of his experiences in performing this rare and unique job in the White House, where he personally worked for Presidents (and First Ladies): Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. There have only been three books written by White House Ushers: Ike Hoover, who served from 1904 -1933; J.B. West, 1941-1969; and me, Chris Emery, 1986-1994.

By J. B. West, Mary Lynn Kotz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Upstairs at the White House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America's first families.
J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue-and coordinated its daily life-at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs,…


Book cover of First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures

Marcia Naomi Berger Author Of Marriage Minded: An A to Z Dating Guide for Lasting Love

From my list on dating toward marriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

Marcia Naomi Berger's passion is to help people create lasting, fulfilling marriages. An experienced clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and medical school clinical faculty member, Berger has held senior-level positions in child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry. She says, "I stayed single for a long time because of my parent's divorce. Now happily married for over thirty-four years, I fill my books with the hard-earned wisdom I've gained professionally and personally."  

Marcia's book list on dating toward marriage

Marcia Naomi Berger Why did Marcia love this book?

I found this book engaging and fun to read. It's filled with well-written, informative stories of many women's first dates. Some of the dismal dates remind me of the saying, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince."

Sometimes my mouth would drop open in shock while reading about a miserable first date. Other stories had happy endings. Some couples continued dating and married. Others had successful first dates because the people liked each other but decided then, or after a few dates, that they weren't a good fit for a romantic relationship.

First Date Stories makes for a friendly, optimistic companion to women experiencing the ups and downs of dating. It reassures them that they are not alone, worthy, and likely to succeed in reaching their goal if they persevere. The implication is that every first date is successful because of the learning it…

By Jodi Klein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ellen meets Jim at a posh restaurant, hoping for an evening of fine wine and better conversation. Maria sets out on a walk with a man she's been looking forward to meeting. In First Date Stories, these women, and others, enter into initial liaisons with well-honed expectations-and come out on the other side with extraordinary tales to tell.

Chances are, every woman in her mid-thirties and over who is seeking a loving companion has a first date tale of triumph or disaster. Each of the candid and memorable stories Jodi Klein shares here imparts a bit of wisdom-with the help…


Book cover of Murder Most Florid: Inside the Mind of a Forensic Botanist

Tim Sullivan Author Of The Monk

From my list on forensic investigation in murder cases.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated with crime and crime fiction. From my early obsession with the novels of Raymond Chandler to my embarrassingly late discovery of Agatha Christie. I directed epsiodes of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett for Masterpiece theatre, which was a dream come true. But it frustrates me when television dramas tread roughshod over forensic science, making absurd claims for what can be done, when the truth, as mundane as it often can be, is so much more fascinating. To this end I have just graduated with an Mlitt from the University of Dundee in Crime Fiction and Forensic Investigation. I hope this will lend my books an air of authenticity and dramatic drive.

Tim's book list on forensic investigation in murder cases

Tim Sullivan Why did Tim love this book?

On a slightly lighter note, although still involved in the solving of murder, this book is written by a forensic botanist.

It’s about how dirt, seeds, and grasses can be utilised in solving crime. An unusual and unique career and all the more fascinating because of it. He talks about his frustration with dealing with some police officers who don’t appreciate how important this science can be.

It’s a brilliant demonstration of how simple, old botanical observations are still relevant and can be crucial in solving a murder in an age of DNA and digital analysis. All of this explained in language that we can all understand.

By Mark A. Spencer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dr Mark Spencer is a forensic botanist - in other words, he helps police with cases where plants can unlock clues to solve crimes, from murder and rape to arson and burglary.

Murder Most Florid is an enthralling, first-person account that follows Mark's unconventional and unique career, one that takes him to woodlands, wasteland and roadsides, as well as police labs, to examine the botanical evidence of serious crimes. From unearthing a decomposing victim from brambles to dissecting the vegetation of a shallow grave, Mark's botanical knowledge can be crucial to securing a conviction.

More widely, this gripping book challenges…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in construction, presidential biography, and World War 1?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about construction, presidential biography, and World War 1.

Construction Explore 40 books about construction
Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography
World War 1 Explore 872 books about World War 1