10 books like The World According to Garp

By John Irving,

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

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A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Book cover of A History of Western Philosophy

Whatever those deep questions are that you have, somebody’s already thought about them, and this masterwork of a book will show you that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re thinking and feeling the same way women and men did a couple thousand years ago – and some very wise individuals have thought through what you’re thinking through. This book will change your life and your mind. You have to be patient, but it’s worth it. Read three pages (no more) a day, every day. Plan on sticking with this for more than a year, then do so. Use a highlighter for a bookmark. It changed me. It’ll change you, too.

A History of Western Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A History of Western Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy went on to become the best-selling philosophy book of the twentieth century. A dazzlingly ambitious project, it remains unchallenged to this day as the ultimate introduction to Western philosophy. Providing a sophisticated overview of the ideas that have perplexed people from time immemorial, it is 'long on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly scepticism', as the New York Times noted, and it is this, coupled with the sheer brilliance of its scholarship, that has made Russell's History of Western Philosophy one of the most important philosophical works of all time.


A Man in Full

By Tom Wolfe,

Book cover of A Man in Full

Read this – or anything by Wolfe, the writer who has had the most influence on me. Why? Because Tom Wolfe was what I aspire to be, a joyful explainer. He dropped himself into worlds he knew nothing about and let their most engaged players just talk. He came back with deep-inside tours of lives we would otherwise never know. In The Molecule of More, my co-author Dan Lieberman (one of the great psychiatric minds in America, I say) gave me a thrilling tour of neuroscience, leveraging my own interests as a playwright and a trained physicist so we could combine our knowledges into something that first passed the test of fascinating us as old friends. Wolfe does all that by himself, and magnificently in this tour of 1990s America.

A Man in Full

By Tom Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Man in Full as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dissection of greed-obsessed America a decade after The Bonfire of the Vanities and on the cusp of the millennium, from the master chronicler of American culture Tom Wolfe

Charlie Croker, once a fabled college football star, is now a late-middle-aged Atlanta real estate entrepreneur-turned conglomerate king. His expansionist ambitions and outsize ego have at last hit up against reality. Charlie has a 28,000 acre quail shooting plantation, a young and demanding second wife and a half-empty downtown tower with a staggering load of debt. Wolfe shows us contemporary America with all the verve, wit, and insight that have made…


The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History

By Fred H. Previc,

Book cover of The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History

If you’re reading my book recommendations, it’s almost certainly because you read the book Dan Lieberman and I wrote about dopamine. In that case, you’ll want to read the book that inspired us to write our book, Fred Previc’s seminal explanation of the technical aspects of dopamine and psychology. If you were hoping for a deeper diver on certain points, Previc’s text is the only way to go – and we remain grateful to him for his groundbreaking work.

The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History

By Fred H. Previc,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it mean to be human? There are many theories of the evolution of human behavior which seek to explain how our brains evolved to support our unique abilities and personalities. Most of these have focused on the role of brain size or specific genetic adaptations of the brain. In contrast, in this text, Fred Previc presents a provocative theory that high levels of dopamine, the most widely studied neurotransmitter, account for all major aspects of modern human behavior. He further emphasizes the role of epigenetic rather than genetic factors in the rise of dopamine. Previc contrasts the great…


Thy Neighbor's Wife

By Gay Talese,

Book cover of Thy Neighbor's Wife

Every generation believes that they see further and think deeper – and weirder – than every one that came before. From this perspective, we imagine that we can do everything differently that those who preceded us. In this book, one of the creators of the so-called New Journalism shows just how wrong we are. In particular, Talese provides a tour of the history of sexual mores, how cultures reflect those mores, and how tradition turns out to be a more powerful cultural magnet than we expect. We can try to make our own new ways in a lot of areas, but the biological pull we all experience invariably pulls us back to a few tendencies and trends we will likely never shake as a species.

Thy Neighbor's Wife

By Gay Talese,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The provocative classic work newly updated

An intimate personal odyssey across America's changing sexual landscape

When first published, Gay Talese's 1981 groundbreaking work, Thy Neighbor's Wife, shocked a nation with its powerful, eye-opening revelations about the sexual activities and proclivities of the American public in the era before AIDS. A marvel of journalistic courage and craft, the book opened a window into a new world built on a new moral foundation, carrying the reader on a remarkable journey from the Playboy Mansion to the Supreme Court, to the backyards and bedrooms of suburbia—through the development of the porn industry, the…


Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

By Andrea Lawlor,

Book cover of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

This is a book for shapeshifters, flaneurs, adventurers, queers of all kinds, people who long for the world to crack open and deliver us a polymorphous adventure. I have rarely felt that a book was speaking so directly to me. I read the entire thing on an airplane to Paris and have spent the next five years thinking about it. Paul is the perfect protagonist for me, because his desires make him curious, and he pursues whatever the next thing is without fear or hesitation. This book gave me a gentle reminder to be brave in my choices, and also to let my unknowing lead me. A good companion for when you’ve blown it all up!

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

By Andrea Lawlor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is quite simply one of the most exciting - and one of the most fun - novels of the decade.' Garth Greenwell

It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a lesbian best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women's Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in…


Broad Band

By Claire L. Evans,

Book cover of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet

Both my first book Curveball and my new book touch on how losing access to information can only shrink someone’s ability to live their life effectively which, in an age where most of us have a near-constant Internet connection, can feel unimaginable, and yet, Broad Band proves that is more likely than we think. Evan’s book attempts to reframe the history of computing by recentering the often forgotten women at the center of that story, asking us to reimagine what our digital informational landscape could have looked like if care for everyone in our communities was more central to that story.

Broad Band

By Claire L. Evans,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you loved Hidden Figures or The Rise of the Rocket Girls, you'll love Claire Evans' breakthrough book on the women who brought you the internet--written out of history, until now.

"This is a radically important, timely work," says Miranda July, filmmaker and author of The First Bad Man. The history of technology you probably know is one of men and machines, garages and riches, alpha nerds and brogrammers--but from Ada Lovelace, who wrote the first computer program in the Victorian Age, to the cyberpunk Web designers of the 1990s, female visionaries have always been at the vanguard of technology…


Boom Town

By Sam Anderson,

Book cover of Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding... Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

Reading stories of history long past is one thing, but it’s another to see our own history. I grew up after the big oil bust of the ‘80s and the renaissance afterward, which Anderson juxtaposes with the wild days of early Oklahoma City. It’s hard to believe you can get gunfights and NBA playoffs all in one place, but Boom Town, and Oklahoma City, show just how to do that.

Boom Town

By Sam Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliant, kaleidoscopic narrative of Oklahoma City—a great American story of civics, basketball, and destiny, from award-winning journalist Sam Anderson

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • NPR • Chicago Tribune • San Francisco Chronicle • The Economist • Deadspin

Oklahoma City was born from chaos. It was founded in a bizarre but momentous “Land Run” in 1889, when thousands of people lined up along the borders of Oklahoma Territory and rushed in at noon to stake their claims. Since then, it has been a city torn between the wild…


Tales of the City

By Armistead Maupin,

Book cover of Tales of the City

What can be said about the Tales of the City books that hasn’t already been said? My love for the books has everything to do with Maupin himself—when he started the series as a correspondent at The Pacific Sun, he was newly out, a framed photograph of him shaking hands with Nixon in The White House hanging on his apartment wall. To me, the books were Maupin’s way of writing himself as a fallible gay man out into the complexities of the world, learning to be a more empathetic person one chapter at a time. Not every story finds its mark (what was with those cannibals in More Tales of The City) but on the whole, they’re extraordinary. 

Tales of the City

By Armistead Maupin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NAMED AS ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 MOST INSPIRING NOVELS

Now a Netflix series starring Elliot Page and Laura Linney . . .

'It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.' Oscar Wilde

Mary Ann is twenty-five and arrives in San Francisco for an eight-day holiday.

But then her Mood Ring turns blue.

So obviously she decides to stay. It is the 1970s after all.

Fresh out of Cleveland, naive Mary Ann tumbles headlong into a brave new world of pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, spaced-out neighbours and outrageous parties. Finding a…


Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold

By Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, Madeline D. Davis,

Book cover of Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community

First published in 1993, Kennedy and Davis focus on working-class women who were part of the butch-femme lesbian bar culture in Buffalo, New York from the 1930s to the 1960s. Through 45 oral histories, Kennedy and Davis allow their subjects—Black, white, and Native American—to speak poignantly for themselves. They help the authors argue that far from emulating traditional heterosexual relationships (which had been an accusation often hurled at butch-femme couples), these women were pioneers of resistance; and that far from living lonely lives (drowning in a “well of loneliness”) they formed a vibrant community.  

Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold

By Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, Madeline D. Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold traces the evolution of the lesbian community in Buffalo, New York from the mid-1930s up to the early 1960s. Drawing upon the oral histories of 45 women, it is the first comprehensive history of a working-class lesbian community. These poignant and complex stories show how black and white working-class lesbians, although living under oppressive circumstances, nevertheless became powerful agents of historical change. Kennedy and Davis provide a unique insider's perspective on butch-fem culture and argue that the roots of gay and lesbian liberation are found specifically in the determined resistance of working-class lesbians.

This…


They Didn't See Us Coming

By Lisa Levenstein,

Book cover of They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties

Levenstein’s subtitle says it all: we generally don’t think there was a ‘90s feminism. Her book pairs especially well with the others on this list, because it demonstrates how women of color took the lead in an intersectional feminism that focused on a huge range of issues at the end of the 20th century. It’s also a great read about the role of the early internet in 1990s feminist organizing. If you think social media was the first time computer technology shaped grassroots activism, her chapter on technology alone will blow your mind.

They Didn't See Us Coming

By Lisa Levenstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Didn't See Us Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On January 21, 2017, massive demonstrations in Washington DC and sister marches held in over 600 American cities drew crowds of over four million people. Popularly called 'The Women's March,' it became the largest single-day protest in American history. The feminism that shaped the consciousness of millions in 2017 had distinct roots in the 1990s.

In They Didn't See Us Coming, historian Lisa Levenstein argues we have missed much of the past quarter century of the women's movement because the conventional wisdom is that the '90s was the moment when the movement splintered into competing factions. But by showcasing voices…


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