10 books like The Official Preppy Handbook

By Lisa Birnbach,

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

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The National Enquirer

By Editors of National Enquirer,

Book cover of The National Enquirer: Thirty Years of Unforgettable Images

As a child, I loved my grandmother’s visits because she would bring all the tabloids I wasn’t allowed to read — and none was better than The National Enquirer. No other outlet reveled so gleefully in scandal: Hollywood stars, politicians, huckster reverends — all were equal targets, and the Enquirer exposed them the way law enforcement nails suspects: Photographic evidence. Can’t lie your way out of a photo. So here’s a ruddy, paunchy, engaged-to-be-married Sen. Ted Kennedy with his 27-year-old paramour, a Miss Alabama runner-up; married presidential candidate Gary Hart, knocked out of the race after daring the media to catch him cheating — which the Enquirer did, running an exclusive picture of mistress Donna Rice sitting on his lap, Hart incredibly wearing a T-shirt reading Monkey Business; and an unprecedented image that changed tabloid journalism and resulted in the Enquirer’s best-selling issue: Elvis Presley in his coffin at…

The National Enquirer

By Editors of National Enquirer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For more than thirty years, The National Enquirer has put us on a first-name basis with stars, villains, beauties, cads, and killers bringing remarkable stories to life with breathtaking photos that pack an emotional punch and often break news in themselves. This is a sumptuous, mesmerizing selection of the most memorable photos from The National Enquirer history.


Careless Love

By Peter Guralnick,

Book cover of Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley

Speaking of Elvis, this biography, the second of two parts, is among the greatest of the late 20th century. We begin with Elvis entering the U.S. Army in 1958 and follow this increasingly lost soul through the years, his fame metastasizing into something unrivaled, incredible, enviable and wholly malignant. Guralnick captures the singular loneliness Elvis came to suffer, the slow suicide that was his Las Vegas residency, the exploitations of his manager, Col. Tom Parker, and a death so humiliating it finally made Elvis what he had longed to be for decades: Profoundly, squalidly human. None other than Bob Dylan called this Presley biography the one that “cancels out all others.”

Careless Love

By Peter Guralnick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick's two-volume life of Elvis Presley, received unprecedented accolades. This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis's life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick's status as one of the great biographers of our time. Beginning with Presley's army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unraveling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis's relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It's a breathtaking drama that places the…


You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

By Julia Phillips,

Book cover of You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

The New York Times called this memoir “The Hollywood Chainsaw Massacre!” and it still stands as one of the best. Phillips, who died New Year’s Day 2002, was a self-described “nice Jewish girl from Great Neck,” Long Island who loved the movies, movie stars — and books. She was sharp, unsparing, and became the first female producer to win an Oscar for Best Picture. The closest comp title, I think, is The Kid Stays In The Picture by the late Robert Evans, but Phillips does him better in eviscerating no one so much as herself. And this is someone who describes Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood as “very sweet, but . . . smells terrible,” before asking, “Why don’t the English like to bathe?” An observation that could get one canceled today.

You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

By Julia Phillips,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The Hollywood memoir that tells all . . . Sex. Drugs. Greed. Why, it sounds just like a movie.”—The New York Times
 
Every memoir claims to bare it all, but Julia Phillips’s actually does. This is an addictive, gloves-off exposé from the producer of the classic films The Sting, Taxi Driver, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind—and the first woman ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture—who made her name in Hollywood during the halcyon seventies and the yuppie-infested eighties and lived to tell the tale. Wickedly funny and surprisingly moving, You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This…


The Vanity Fair Diaries

By Tina Brown,

Book cover of The Vanity Fair Diaries: Power, Wealth, Celebrity, and Dreams: My Years at the Magazine That Defined a Decade

Londoner Tina Brown alights in New York City and falls fast and hard for power-playing, the machinations of billionaires and politicos, the trappings of glamour and wealth and the city itself, whose rococo sensibility she brings to Vanity Fair, a magazine she rescues from irrelevance and turns into a monthly-must read. Brown generated national headlines with her high-low sensibility and indelible cover images (a naked and pregnant Demi Moore scandalized middle America, much to Brown’s delight). She also writes about her guilt as a working mother, the thrill of matching the right journalist to the right story, and her trepidation in fighting for the salary she knew she deserved. A witty and colorful document of the last moment magazines really mattered.

The Vanity Fair Diaries

By Tina Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Indiscreet, brilliantly observed, frequently hilarious' Evening Standard
'Hang on - it's a wild ride' Meryl Streep

It's 1983. A young Englishwoman arrives in Manhattan on a mission. Summoned in the hope that she can save Conde Nast's troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is plunged into the maelstrom of competitive New York media. She survives the politics and the intrigue by a simple stratagem: succeeding.

Here are the inside stories of the scoops and covers that sold millions: the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana's marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant,…


Where the Girls Are

By Susan J. Douglas,

Book cover of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media

Where the Girls Are is about a particular generation of women growing up in post War America, and the impact popular media had on their lives, both for good and for bad. It weaves wonderfully smart, often funny, always engagingly written discussions of pop music, movies, and television shows with Douglas’s own experiences at the time. It’s unabashedly feminist—but it isn’t a speech or a political manifesto. It’s an exploration of the push-pull of growing up female at a transitional time, a time in which attitudes toward women were changing, unevenly, and how pop culture reflected the tensions of the times. This book is history, memoir, sociology, media studies, all at once – immensely informative and very entertaining.

Where the Girls Are

By Susan J. Douglas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Media critic Douglas deconstructs the ambiguous messages sent to American women via TV programs, popular music, advertising, and nightly news reporting over the last 40 years, and fathoms their influence on her own life and the lives of her contemporaries. Photos.


The Birth of Korean Cool

By Euny Hong,

Book cover of The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture

At a time when academics tend to look down their noses at Korean popular culture (Hallyu, literally “the Korean wave”), which in recent years is driving popular culture worldwide, The Birth of Korean Cool is a refreshing analysis based on the supposition that Korea is finally “getting even” with the rest of the world for being underappreciated for thousands of years.

The Birth of Korean Cool

By Euny Hong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A FRESH, FUNNY, UP-CLOSE LOOK AT HOW SOUTH KOREA REMADE ITSELF AS THE WORLD'S POP CULTURE POWERHOUSE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

By now, everyone in the world knows the song "Gangnam Style" and Psy, an instantly recognizable star. But the song's international popularity is no passing fad. "Gangnam Style" is only one tool in South Korea's extraordinarily elaborate and effective strategy to become a major world superpower by first becoming the world's number one pop culture exporter.

As a child, Euny Hong moved from America to the Gangnam neighbourhood in Seoul. She was a witness to the most accelerated part…


Night Shift

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Night Shift

Originally published in 1978, I was still a bit young to be devouring such dark and twisted tales but this one became my own blueprint for writing short stories.

This wasn't my first SK book, I had previously read his other novels like Salem's Lot and The Stand. But once I discovered Night Shift, it was like getting a different story each and every time I opened the book. 

There are no 'favorites' here because each one is sublime, but if I were forced to select 2-3 out of the 20, I'd go with "Gray Matter", "The Mangler", and "Sometimes They Come Back", mostly because these have quotes that I still see and use here and there, some 40 years later.

Night Shift

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King’s first collection of short stories, originally published in 1978, showcases the darkest depths of his brilliant imagination and will "chill the cockles of many a heart" (Chicago Tribune). Night Shift is the inspiration for over a dozen acclaimed horror movies and television series, including Children of the Corn , Chapelwaite, and Lawnmower Man.

Here we see mutated rats gone bad (“Graveyard Shift”); a cataclysmic virus that threatens humanity (“Night Surf,” the basis for The Stand); a possessed, evil lawnmower (“The Lawnmower Man”); unsettling children from the heartland (“Children of the Corn”); a smoker who will try anything to…


Critical Thinking and Popular Culture

By Peter Elias Sotiriou,

Book cover of Critical Thinking and Popular Culture: Reading and Writing the American Experience

Although many critical thinking texts include some analysis of bits from popular culture, I wanted to include this book on my list because, as its title indicates, it focuses on popular culture­—which is good because most of us immerse ourselves in popular culture and so it influences our thinking in a huge way. There's a whole chapter. There's a whole chapter dedicated to "Analyzing American Television," another dedicated to "American Advertising and the Subtle Art of Manipulation," and one dedicated to "Popular Culture in Speeches."  

Critical Thinking and Popular Culture

By Peter Elias Sotiriou,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Critical Thinking and Popular Culture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Sotiriou, Peter Elias


The Moe Manifesto

By Patrick W. Galbraith,

Book cover of The Moe Manifesto: An Insider's Look at the Worlds of Manga, Anime, and Gaming

Patrick Galbraith is arguably one of the leading experts on all things otaku. He has written dozens of article and essays and a few books on the subject, and choosing one to showcase here was not easy. The Moe Manifesto is not an entry-level work; it’s for hardcore fans who want to dive headfirst into the otaku rabbit hole. Even I often consult it for inspiration when I write about Japanese subcultures. 

The book’s main selling point – especially if you can’t read Japanese – is that Galbraith has assembled a unique lineup of experts (university professors, social and cultural critics, writers, illustrators and other assorted creatives) that he has extensively interviewed about different aspects of otaku culture. There’s a lot of serious food for thought here.

The Moe Manifesto

By Patrick W. Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moe is a huge cultural phenomenon and one of the driving forces behind the enormous success of Japanese anime and manga--not just in Japan but now throughout the world.

In Japan, avid fans of manga comics, anime films and video games use the term Moe to refer to the strong sense of emotional attachment they feel for their favorite characters. These fans have a powerful desire to protect and nurture the youthful, beautiful and innocent characters they adore--like Sagisawa Moe in Dinosaur Planet and Tomoe Hotaru in Sailor Moon. They create their own websites, characters, stories, discussion groups, toys and…


What the Dog Saw

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Book cover of What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures

I downloaded What the Dog Saw as an audiobook because who better to keep you company on a long drive than Malcolm Gladwell. The book is a collection of his essays that were published in The New Yorker, including an essay about famed dog trainer Cesar Millan. As always, Gladwell’s perspective and research are illuminating.

What the Dog Saw

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Malcolm Gladwell is the master of playful yet profound insight. His ability to see underneath the surface of the seemingly mundane taps into a fundamental human impulse: curiosity. From criminology to ketchup, job interviews to dog training, Malcolm Gladwell takes everyday subjects and shows us surprising new ways of looking at them, and the world around us. Are smart people overrated? What can pit bulls teach us about crime? Why are problems like homelessness easier to solve than to manage? How do we hire when we can't tell who's right for the job? Gladwell explores the minor geniuses, the underdogs…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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