76 books like Some Things That Meant the World to Me

By Joshua Mohr,

Here are 76 books that Some Things That Meant the World to Me fans have personally recommended if you like Some Things That Meant the World to Me. 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 Permanent Midnight: A Memoir

Joe Clifford Author Of Junkie Love: A Story of Recovery and Redemption

From my list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled.

Who am I?

I'm a mystery writer and teacher now. Back then, I spent 10 years homeless and addicted on the streets of San Francisco. I could always return to Mom in CT and get put in a cushy rehab. Until I couldn't. And then she was dying, and my younger brother was addicted and soon he'd be dead too. It got scary at the end because I wasn't just some white suburban kid playing a scumbag junkie. I was a scumbag junkie. But why do I have a passion for the topic? I guess it's because it isn't all bad. I know that sounds weird, but being homeless and addicted has moments of beauty and joy too. 

Joe's book list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled

Joe Clifford Why did Joe love this book?

The gold standard of recovery books. I found this gem literally in the gutter when I was homeless. Changed my life by showing me if I could get my shit together, I, too, could write a book about my experience, and, in the process, maybe help someone else who was suffering as well.

By Jerry Stahl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jerry Stahl's seminal memoir of drug addiction and a career in Hollywood, Permanent Midnight is a classic along the lines of Hubert Selby, Jr.'s Last Exit to Brooklyn. Illuminating the self-loathing and self-destruction of an addict's inner life, Permanent Midnight follows Stahl through the dregs of addiction and into sobriety. In 1998, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Maria Bello starred in a film version of Permanent Midnight to much acclaim. Nic Sheff, author of Tweak, writes the introduction to this edition.


Book cover of Hustle

Joe Clifford Author Of Junkie Love: A Story of Recovery and Redemption

From my list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled.

Who am I?

I'm a mystery writer and teacher now. Back then, I spent 10 years homeless and addicted on the streets of San Francisco. I could always return to Mom in CT and get put in a cushy rehab. Until I couldn't. And then she was dying, and my younger brother was addicted and soon he'd be dead too. It got scary at the end because I wasn't just some white suburban kid playing a scumbag junkie. I was a scumbag junkie. But why do I have a passion for the topic? I guess it's because it isn't all bad. I know that sounds weird, but being homeless and addicted has moments of beauty and joy too. 

Joe's book list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled

Joe Clifford Why did Joe love this book?

The brilliance of Hustle is the way it juxtaposes the everyday addict's life. Sure, there's the big crime and action, bad guys, car chases. Again, that part fiction. But Hustle lives and breathes in between. In the minutia. Of the doldrums of, as Lou Reed once so eloquently sang, waiting for the man. It's the quiet moments and small conversations between Big Rich and Donny, where we see their humanity. As warped and twisted as the world may be around them, they never lose that appeal: being victims of the human condition. And like I said, living this life with Tom (the drug part), I can honestly say it was those little conversations that give you something to laugh about and a little hope to hold onto. 

By Tom Pitts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two young hustlers, caught in an endless cycle of addiction and prostitution, decide to blackmail an elderly client of theirs. Donny and Big Rich want to film Gabriel Thaxton with their cell phones during a sexual act and put the video up on YouTube. Little do they know, the man they’ve chosen, a high-profile San Francisco defense attorney, is already being blackmailed by someone more sinister: an ex-client of the lawyer’s. A murderous speed freak named Dustin has already permeated the attorney’s life and Dustin has plans for the old man. The lawyer calls upon an old biker for help…


Book cover of Orangutan: A Memoir

Joe Clifford Author Of Junkie Love: A Story of Recovery and Redemption

From my list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled.

Who am I?

I'm a mystery writer and teacher now. Back then, I spent 10 years homeless and addicted on the streets of San Francisco. I could always return to Mom in CT and get put in a cushy rehab. Until I couldn't. And then she was dying, and my younger brother was addicted and soon he'd be dead too. It got scary at the end because I wasn't just some white suburban kid playing a scumbag junkie. I was a scumbag junkie. But why do I have a passion for the topic? I guess it's because it isn't all bad. I know that sounds weird, but being homeless and addicted has moments of beauty and joy too. 

Joe's book list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled

Joe Clifford Why did Joe love this book?

Orangutan is a working-class opus. Broderick excels in his display of the grind and how some men can weather and accept, as the Boss sings, dying little by little, piece by piece, and how others need more help to make it through the day. The most compelling part of Broderick's writing is the way he is able to delineate between the haves and have-nots. And, no, I don't mean money. Some men can drink a six-pack on the weekend, even do some blow. They'll be fine. Others? Like Colin? A shot is too much of an allure. Not just to get drunk, wasted, blotto. It goes way deeper. It's a form of wakeful suicide. You get through the day. You get your paycheck. You survive. But the price is not living.

By Colin Broderick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few people who have been slave to an addiction as vicious, as destructive, and as unrelenting as Colin Broderick's have lived to tell their tale. Fewer still have emerged from the darkest depths of alcoholism—from the perpetual fistfights and muggings, car crashes and blackouts—to tell the harrowing truth about the modern Irish immigrant experience.

Orangutan is the story of a generation of young men and women in search of identity in a foreign land, both in love with and at odds with the country they've made their home. So much more than just another memoir about battling addiction, Orangutan is…


Book cover of Wasting Talent

Joe Clifford Author Of Junkie Love: A Story of Recovery and Redemption

From my list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled.

Who am I?

I'm a mystery writer and teacher now. Back then, I spent 10 years homeless and addicted on the streets of San Francisco. I could always return to Mom in CT and get put in a cushy rehab. Until I couldn't. And then she was dying, and my younger brother was addicted and soon he'd be dead too. It got scary at the end because I wasn't just some white suburban kid playing a scumbag junkie. I was a scumbag junkie. But why do I have a passion for the topic? I guess it's because it isn't all bad. I know that sounds weird, but being homeless and addicted has moments of beauty and joy too. 

Joe's book list on what addiction is really like, no punches pulled

Joe Clifford Why did Joe love this book?

This one hurts. Because when I was asked to write this list, Ryan’s book immediately came to mind. Part fiction, part memoir, all hell, Wasted Talent might be the most aptly titled book ever. See, Ryan, who was an amazing writer, talent, and friend, died last week. I don’t know what of. I’m not gonna speculate. But he was in his thirties and wasn’t hit by a car. Over the last few years, Ryan and I weren’t in touch as much, though I did put money on his books when he returned to prison. Ryan’s life and work are a testament to one irrefutable fact. I didn’t go the AA route. But, boy did they get the final destination right. Addiction ends one of three ways: jails, institutions, death. Wasted Talent is Ryan’s only novel. That he didn’t grace the world with more defends his titular choices.

By Ryan Leone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ALL AUTHOR PROCEEDS FROM KINDLE VERSION WILL GO TOWARDS STARTING A NON-PROFIT TO HELP OPIOD ADDICTS GET NARCAN FOR FREE (a life saving drug used to reverse overdoses and save lives.)

Ryan Leone's Wasting Talent stands out as a shining example of survivor literature. Ryan's prose evokes lost giants like Hubert Selby Jr and Eddie Little. As art, and as inspiration, Wasting Talent delivers. Ryan Leone is the real deal!"
- Jerry Stahl, bestselling author of Permanent Midnight

"I feel I should write a disclaimer about Ryan Leone's Wasting Talent, like 'Don't try this at home.' So, I will: Don't…


Book cover of I'm Glad My Mom Died

Jiordan Castle Author Of Disappearing Act: A True Story

From my list on resilience for young adults and adults.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested in stories about becoming. Whether it’s a coming-of-age story, a story about overcoming adversity, or a story about discovery or recovery, I find that the best books about becoming also tend to be books about resilience. For me, the lure of a book is often more about its themes and perspective than it is about where it’s categorized and shelved. Having written a memoir in verse for an upper young adult reading group, this is especially true of my experience as an author. Each of the books on this list has something profound and singular to offer young adult readers and adult readers alike.

Jiordan's book list on resilience for young adults and adults

Jiordan Castle Why did Jiordan love this book?

With a codependent mother relationship that feeds into various forms of abuse (CW: eating disorders being one of them) and Hollywood as the backdrop for this coming-of-age story, this is an important, unforgettable memoir.

It’s a gift to be so darkly funny and honest as a nonfiction writer, particularly when your own deep vulnerability is in service of something larger. Written in short numbered passages that span McCurdy’s life from early childhood into adulthood, this true story is a perfect rollercoaster.

Both laugh-out-loud funny and deliriously sad, there’s never a moment you won’t feel held by this book and this writer.

By Jennette McCurdy,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked I'm Glad My Mom Died as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor-including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother-and how she retook control of her life.

Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother's dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called "calorie restriction," eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while…


Book cover of Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Karin Blak Author Of The Essential Companion to Talking Therapy: Everything You Need to Know about the Therapy Journey

From my list on how we can all be affected by trauma and recovery.

Who am I?

Throughout my life as a therapist, I have focused on couple and family relationships, including the relationship we have with ourselves. When trauma was beginning to be recognised as something most people can and do experience, when we began to realise that it isn’t just front-line combat soldiers who get traumatised, I began my journey into how trauma affects our relationships. My study of trauma and relationships has helped my work with clients and, without naming their experiences as trauma, has moved them on from re-enacting the damage caused to them or unknowingly inflicting the same on others. 

Karin's book list on how we can all be affected by trauma and recovery

Karin Blak Why did Karin love this book?

Having grown up with an extremely toxic parent, I felt, and still feel, the fallout. The trauma of being silently ignored for days even when in dire need or having to care for an alcoholic parent – and worse still - from a very young age, I got used to having to fend for myself. 

Toxic Parents explained it all to me: how this treatment leaves deep scars that are difficult to heal, yet that there is hope for reparation. It took me on a journey of understanding, gave me skills to stand up when I felt I was falling down, and led me further into my curiosity of how to become an effective therapist.

This is another book on my list for clients to read, that helped them to open up during sessions about their own experiences and giving way for healing to stand a chance.

By Susan Forward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

__________________________________________________________________
Bestselling author and psychologist Dr Susan Forward offers effective alternatives for achieving inner peace and freeing yourself from frustrating patterns of relationships with your parents.

Millions of lives are damaged by the legacy of parental abuse:
* Parents who ignored their children's needs or overburdened them with guilt.
* Parents who were alcoholic or addicted to drugs.
* Parents who were exploitative and cruel, or simply indifferent and inadequate.

When these children reach adulthood the damage done by their toxic parents manifests itself in depression, or difficulties with relationships, careers and decision-making. In Toxic Parents, Dr Susan Forward shows…


Book cover of Fear of the Collar: The True Story of the Boy They Couldn't Break

Heidi Daniele Author Of The House Children

From my list on Irish industrial schools and mother baby homes.

Who am I?

I am first generation American - my mother is from Ireland and my father is from Germany. I’ve always had an interest in my heritage and developed a passion for genealogy. My curiosity led me to researching Industrial Schools and Mother Baby Homes in Ireland. I’ve read many books about these institutions and also wrote a book of my own based on stories of former residents of St. Joseph’s Industrial School in Ballinasloe, Galway.

Heidi's book list on Irish industrial schools and mother baby homes

Heidi Daniele Why did Heidi love this book?

Fear of the Collar is Patrick Touher’s personal account of his experience in the Artane Industrial School. Artane was the largest Industrial School in Ireland and operated from 1870 – 1969.

At times Artane housed nearly 1,000 boys and was known to be self-sufficient – with the “inmates” making their own clothes, shoes, and the boys produced and grew their own food.

Touher takes the reader through the daily military-like regiment and discipline imposed upon young boys being cared for by the Christian Brothers. His story will evoke an array of feelings. It is important to read the epilogue as you will be in awe of the man Patrick Touher has become despite the harshness of his childhood.

By Patrick Touher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sent to an Industrial School in Dublin at the age of seven, Patrick Touher was forced into a tough regime of education and training, prayer and punishment, strict discipline and fearful nights. No allowances were made for emotion, sentiment or boyhood worries, and anyone who disturbed the routine was severely punished. Artane demanded absolute obedience, absolute submission; Patrick's was an education in cruelty and fear.

Patrick Touher spent eight long years in Artane Industrial School. Run by the Christian Brothers, the school has become synonymous with the widespread abuse of children in Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s which is…


Book cover of Woman at Point Zero

Katharine Quarmby Author Of The Low Road

From my list on female characters who rise from the ashes.

Who am I?

I’m a writer who loves reading novels, encompassing everything from romance to historical and crime. I've always loved resilient female characters in the books I've read, from children’s fiction onward. When I started writing The Low Road I didn’t know that a couple of years later we as a family would experience multiple bereavement in just a few months, and that grief is imbued in every page of the novel. In The Low Road, I hope I've also paid homage to the power of women, that dogged and patient holding on and enduring of pain, that is at the heart of so many of the lives we live as girls and women.

Katharine's book list on female characters who rise from the ashes

Katharine Quarmby Why did Katharine love this book?

I read this years ago and then devoured all of Nawal el Sadawi’s books, fiction and non-fiction.

I have Iranian heritage on my birth father’s side and have always been fascinated in the life I could have lived as an Iranian girl, if I had been raised there instead of the UK.

So reading Nawal ed Sadawi’s books, set in Egypt where she was born, educated, and worked as a doctor and writer, gave me an insight I really wanted into Islamic societies and how women can live in them.

Woman at Point Zero is harrowing, brilliant, immersive, and painful, taking as its theme the story of Firdaus, who tells the story of why she has killed a man before she is executed. She explains why and her courage and eloquence have stayed with me ever since.

We need these stories of women on the edge who still, somehow, resist…

By Nawal El Saadawi, Sherif Hetata (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Woman at Point Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An unforgettable, unmissable book for the new global feminist.'
The Times

'All the men I did get to know filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.'

So begins Firdaus's remarkable story of rebellion against a society founded on lies, hypocrisy, brutality and oppression. Born to a peasant family in the Egyptian countryside, Firdaus struggles through childhood, seeking compassion and knowledge in a world which gives her little of either. As she grows up and escapes the fetters of her childhood, each new relationship teaches her a bitter but liberating…


Book cover of The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Helen Epstein Author Of The Long Half-Lives of Love and Trauma

From my list on healing from sexual trauma.

Who am I?

I'm a veteran author, journalist, and journalism professor who has taught over 1000 students. At the age of 50, through a memoir I began writing, I fell down a rabbit hole of memory and began to suspect I had been sexually abused as a child. The man was a close family friend, who liked to call himself my grandfather. He did not speak English. My parents were immigrants and the usual difficulties of retrieving memories from childhood were complicated by the fact that they were all in the Czech language. For years I read everything I could find about childhood sexual abuse and then everything I could read about psychoanalysis.

Helen's book list on healing from sexual trauma

Helen Epstein Why did Helen love this book?

The Courage to Heal was another of the first books I turned to when I began reading about childhood sexual abuse.

I felt confused back then and ambivalent about believing that I had been abused that I didn’t borrow the book from a library or buy it. Instead I went to the local bookstore and read it crouched in an aisle. It’s a great survey of the world of people who were sexually abused as children, with many case studies, background research, and resources for community support. 

By Ellen Bass, Laura Davis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Come to terms with your past while moving powerfully into the future

The Courage to Heal is an inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and a map of the healing journey to every woman who was sexually abused as a child—and to those who care about her. Although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible.

Weaving together personal experience with professional knowledge, the authors provide clear explanations, practical suggestions, and support throughout the healing process. Readers will feel recognized and encouraged by hundreds of moving first-person stories drawn from interviews and the authors' extensive…


Book cover of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity

Cheryl Erwin Author Of Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years -- Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful

From my list on trauma in early childhood.

Who am I?

I have spent most of my professional career as a therapist and educator, working with children who have experienced trauma and parents who want to do a better job. Trauma affects every aspect of human development and relationships. With support and understanding, trauma and its impacts need not be permanent: change and healing are always possible. The sooner the process begins, the better. The first five years of a child’s life are so important, and most parents are both overwhelmed by a glut of information and missing out on the most important parts of parenting. My hope is to make this information available to everyone who might benefit from it.

Cheryl's book list on trauma in early childhood

Cheryl Erwin Why did Cheryl love this book?

Dr. Harris is a world-changer. In her pediatric practice in an at-risk neighborhood in San Francisco, she saw young patients suffering challenges and illnesses that did not appear to be linked to any physical condition. She dug deeper, and discovered Adverse Childhood Experiences and the deep impact they can have on young lives. It is now her mission to educate doctors, who have not typically been trained in trauma or social and emotional challenges. Her book (and her TEDtalk on the same topic) is fascinating, exacting, and hopeful. Nadine Burke-Harris is now the first-ever Surgeon General of the State of California, and continues to educate parents and professionals about trauma and healing.

By Nadine Burke-Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“An extraordinary, eye-opening book.”—People
 
2018 National Health Information Awards, Silver Award
 
“A rousing wake-up call . . . this highly engaging, provocative book prove[s] beyond a reasonable doubt that millions of lives depend on us finally coming to terms with the long-term consequences of childhood adversity and toxic stress.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
 
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault—who galvanized her journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses.
            The…


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