100 books like This Was Hollywood

By Carla Valderrama,

Here are 100 books that This Was Hollywood fans have personally recommended if you like This Was Hollywood. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 Gone With the Wind

Jessica James Author Of Noble Cause: A Novel of Love and War

From my list on enemies to lovers romantic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in Gettysburg, PA, all of my life, so I’m drawn to historical fiction, especially the Civil War era. The 1860s is the perfect setting for the enemies-to-lovers trope, and I am lucky enough to be surrounded by history all of the time. In doing lots of research, I have found that enemies fell in love more often than you might think during the Civil War. I hope you enjoy this list of books that got me interested in reading and continue to keep my attention to this day.

Jessica's book list on enemies to lovers romantic

Jessica James Why did Jessica love this book?

This is a beloved book for many, but I love it so much because both of the characters are so unlikeable—yet you fall in love with them. I also love the conflict and the dueling, strong personalities of Scarlet and Rhett.

The plot is full of emotion and passion, and yet there are no sex scenes, which is another reason why I like it so much.

By Margaret Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Gone With the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the tempestuous romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara is set amid the drama of the Civil War.


Book cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Christina Ford Author Of In Search of Mr Darcy: Lessons Learnt In The Pursuit of Happily Ever After

From my list on believing in the existence of love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about life, love and being single in my blog, A Broad In London, and I am a semi-regular guest on a Week In Review on BBC Radio London. 

Christina's book list on believing in the existence of love

Christina Ford Why did Christina love this book?

The title alone had me intrigued. Who is Evelyn Hugo, and seriously…seven husbands?! We are transported back into the life of this legendary Hollywood actress as she decides, after living a reclusive life, to give a rare interview.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but I will say this: there are secrets and struggles that provide the reader with a poignant look into what real forbidden love looks like and at what cost. 

By Taylor Jenkins Reid,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"If you're looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read." -Bustle

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & the Six-an entrancing and "wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet" (PopSugar) as she reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready…


Book cover of The Garden on Sunset

Lisa Hall Author Of The Mysterious Double Death of Honey Black

From my list on for fans of Old Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories, whether on the page or on the screen, and after reading Gone with the Wind I immediately watched the movie, feeling the pull of Old Hollywood drawing me in. My grandfather was a big movie fan, and I spent many an afternoon watching old movies with him – Hobson’s Choice was a favourite. As I got older, Gaslight, Ocean’s Eleven, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane… they all had me gripped. Factor in my self-confessed obsession with celebrity gossip and that was me done for – Old Hollywood is rife with scandal and gossip!

Lisa's book list on for fans of Old Hollywood

Lisa Hall Why did Lisa love this book?

Martin Turnbull is somewhat of an expert on Old Hollywood and I found his incredible website in my research for Honey Black.

His website is full of original photos of LA throughout the decades and these were invaluable for me when I was writing certain scenes. I then discovered he had written a series of books based in Hollywood, following three friends who come together to navigate their way through the movie business, starting with The Garden of Allah set in the late 1920s. It’s a fascinating look at the seedier side of Old Hollywood. 

By Martin Turnbull,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Have you ever wanted to climb into a time machine and visit Hollywood during its heyday?

Right before talking pictures slug Tinsel Town in the jaw, a luminous silent screen star converts her private estate into the Garden of Allah Hotel. The lush grounds soon become a haven for Hollywood hopefuls to meet, drink, and revel through the night. George Cukor is in the pool, Tallulah Bankhead is at the bar, and Scott Fitzgerald is sneaking off to a bungalow with Sheilah Graham while Madame Alla Nazimova keeps watch behind her lace curtains.

But the real story of the Garden…


Book cover of Bring on the Empty Horses

Lisa Hall Author Of The Mysterious Double Death of Honey Black

From my list on for fans of Old Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories, whether on the page or on the screen, and after reading Gone with the Wind I immediately watched the movie, feeling the pull of Old Hollywood drawing me in. My grandfather was a big movie fan, and I spent many an afternoon watching old movies with him – Hobson’s Choice was a favourite. As I got older, Gaslight, Ocean’s Eleven, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane… they all had me gripped. Factor in my self-confessed obsession with celebrity gossip and that was me done for – Old Hollywood is rife with scandal and gossip!

Lisa's book list on for fans of Old Hollywood

Lisa Hall Why did Lisa love this book?

As soon as I told my agent I wanted to write this book she told me I had to read David Niven’s autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon, and she was absolutely right.

This book is the follow-up to the first (brilliant) autobiography, and this one spends less time on David’s personal life, and is more a recounting of Hollywood stories, as he lived them. Fascinating, shocking, and an absolute must for lovers of Old Hollywood!  

By David Niven,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bring on the Empty Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is Niven at his best. He and Errol Flynn were filming The Charge of the Light Brigade for a director, Michael Curtiz, 'whose Hungarian-orientated English was a joy to us all'. High on the rostrum he decided the moment had come to order the arrival on the scene of a hundred riderless chargers. "Okay," he yelled into a megaphone, "Bring on the empty horses!" '

BRING ON THE EMPTY HORSES is the second part of David Niven's internationally bestselling autobiography, following the superbly entertaining THE MOON'S A BALLOON. Both books were highly acclaimed by the critics and remain as…


Book cover of Hollywood: The Oral History

Chris Yogerst Author Of The Warner Brothers

From my list on bringing Hollywood history to life in the present.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with Hollywood’s Golden Age when I first watched Psycho. From there, every new film and book from or about the era has been a journey into Hollywood’s history. I got into higher education and writing because I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others as much as I enjoy the learning process itself. What interests me most about Hollywood history is how the industry has interacted with American and global history. Hollywood has always had either a front-row seat or a seat at the table of history in the making. Not always on the right side of history, but always fascinating. 

Chris' book list on bringing Hollywood history to life in the present

Chris Yogerst Why did Chris love this book?

Wasson and Basinger are two other authors where you simply want to read everything they’ve written.

The reason I picked Hollywood: The Oral History for this list is that you have several hundred pages of Hollywood players telling their own stories. What could be better?? We get the scoop from stars, grips, screenwriters, carpenters, producers, directors, publicists, and everything in between.

What was it like to work in Hollywood in 1949? This book has your answer. What was the transition from Old Hollywood to New Hollywood like, this book has the goods. 

By Jeanine Basinger, Sam Wasson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Essential . . . thrilling . . . invaluable.' Irish Times

'Absorbing . . . rippling with fun and atmosphere.' Sight & Sound

'Hollywood's ultimate oral history.' New Yorker

The greatest conversation in the history of Hollywood.

From the archives of the American Film Institute comes a unique picture of what it was like to work in Hollywood from its beginnings to its present day. Hollywood: The Oral History, lets a reader 'listen in' on candid remarks from the biggest names in front of the camera - Bette Davis, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Jane Fonda, Harold Lloyd - the biggest…


Book cover of Just the Sexiest Man Alive

Kathy L Wheeler Author Of Captivated By His Countess

From my list on romance to keep you turning when you want to sleep.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my own writing journey in 2007. I skipped many HS classes just to stay home and read. I want to know the ending of a story. I want happy ending. Life is hard, but when I have the ability to write the stories I write with the ending that so many are deprived of, at least I know I can find it in a book of my own choosing. That is my love of romance.

Kathy's book list on romance to keep you turning when you want to sleep

Kathy L Wheeler Why did Kathy love this book?

The opening, hook, if you will, of this book is exactly why I loved it. She is an attorney.

He is a huge over-the-top movie star whose next role is in a courtroom. When he is late, she blows him off and he can’t believe it. I love love love how she stands up to him and basically, puts him in his place. But when he sees her in action, he’s stunned. And, that is what I love!

It’s convincing and I know that in the end things will work out. That’s the joy of Romance. The journey to the ending you know you’ll love.

By Julie James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just the Sexiest Man Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Julie James's debut novel-a dazzling romance about one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars and the woman who refuses to let him capture her heart...

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom, she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her-not even her cheating ex-fiance. So when she's assigned to coach People's "Sexiest Man Alive" for his next big legal drama, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob's charms.

Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him…


Book cover of Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets

Daniel Weizmann Author Of Cinnamon Girl

From my list on the dark side of show biz.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up blocks from Hollywood Boulevard in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and had something like a front-row seat to the greatest pop culture five-car pile-up in American history. At the Canteen on Hollywood and Vine, where my aunt would take me on summer weekdays for the “Extras for Extras Smorgasbord,” you’d rub shoulders with aging starlets, cowpokes, starry-eyed young hopefuls, and “leading men” in five-and-dime ascots who never had a leading role. Even Billy Barty, always of good cheer, would make the scene—he was so nice to me, and I had no idea he played my hero, Sigmund the Sea Monster!

Daniel's book list on the dark side of show biz

Daniel Weizmann Why did Daniel love this book?

If this beautifully illustrated collection of Hollywood tragedies were only kink, only lurid scandal like so many cheap TV potshots, it wouldn’t be the iconic masterpiece it has become. Kenneth Anger’s take on the faded and fallen Hollywood differs because he loves the place and its people with all his heart.

A child starling and renegade director in his own right (Scorpio Rising, Kustom Kar Kommandoes), he oozes child-like wonder and horror on every page. As he puts it in the book’s equally stark sequel, Hollywood Babylon II, the movies “promise immortality, but don’t really deliver.”   

By Kenneth Anger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Kenneth Anger has fashioned a delicious . . . box of poisoned bonbons. Picking through the slag heap of the Hollywood dream factory, [he] has put together a truly prodigious anthology of star-studded scandal.”—The New York Times

Kenneth Anger is a former child movie actor who grew up to become one of America’s leading underground filmmakers. Hollywood Babylon was originally published in Paris, and quickly became an underground legend. Not a word has been changed. Not a story omitted. Here is the hot, luscious plum of sizzling scandal that continues to shock the world.


Book cover of Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist

Brian Neve Author Of Film and Politics in America: A Social Tradition

From my list on Hollywood blacklist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Years ago, as part of my research, I interviewed Elia Kazan and Abraham Polonsky, two key figures in the blacklist story, and two men who were on different sides in terms of how they responded to the postwar Congressional investigations. These personal encounters – in New York and Los Angeles – fed a fascination with the anti-Communist purge in Hollywood, its dramaturgy, and the way filmmakers of that generation were caught up in it in different ways. There are more specialized works but the books recommended provide a substantive introduction to this still globally resonant topic, calling attention to the problematic and still difficult relationships between citizenship and cultural identity.

Brian's book list on Hollywood blacklist

Brian Neve Why did Brian love this book?

In Tender Comrades, those with experience of the Blacklist tell their stories, prompted expertly by the editors. The book explores the experiences of around forty individuals who were part of the left-wing and liberal community that thrived in Hollywood from the 1930s and 1940s. They involved themselves in political causes and issues, while contributing to some of the key films of that era. The book also captures first-hand accounts of the dynamics of the ‘naming’ process, and how people responded to it – some of them by leaving the country. It is a fascinating story of the impact of these events on private lives and political choices.

By Patrick McGilligan, Paul Buhle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This text offers an account of the McCarthy era in Hollywood. Using oral history techniques, the authors involve 30 of those who were suppressed and unable to talk at the time, owing to the prevailing anti-Communist witch-hunt.


Book cover of Memoirs and Misinformation

Ryan Uytdewilligen Author Of He's No Angel

From my list on satire and parody on Hollywood to make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a classic Hollywood fanatic. I can name you every Best Picture Oscar Winner on command. I’ve written screenplays and seen the industry firsthand, but if I had my choice, I’d go live through the Hollywood Golden Age. I've published numerous non-fiction film history books and have a whole lot more classic-film-inspired novels coming. And I do it all simply for the single reason that writing a book is the closest thing to time travel that I can find. Immersing myself in this world with actors that have lived, and even a few that I’ve made up, is pure heaven that transports me back to the days of the silver screen. 

Ryan's book list on satire and parody on Hollywood to make you laugh

Ryan Uytdewilligen Why did Ryan love this book?

Anything to do with Jim Carrey, I’m in. In fact, when teachers would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d reply “Be Jim Carrey.” As a longtime fan, I was excited to learn that he would finally be charting his life in an autobiography. As it turns out, the book was mostly wild fiction. What’s so engaging about this book is how he blends real-life occurrences like his body of film work and relationship with Renee Zellweger with completely off-the-wall fantasy like mentor Rodney Dangerfield returning as a Rhino, Kelsey Grammar leading a cult, and Carrey struggling with his career as his entire essence goes virtual. It’s extremely experimental, but the inclusion of celebrities will leave you grinning.     

By Jim Carrey, Dana Vachon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • "None of this is real and all of it is true." —Jim Carrey

Meet Jim Carrey. Sure, he's an insanely successful and beloved movie star drowning in wealth and privilege—but he's also lonely. Maybe past his prime. Maybe even ... getting fat? He's tried diets, gurus, and cuddling with his military-grade Israeli guard dogs, but nothing seems to lift the cloud of emptiness and ennui. Even the sage advice of his best friend, actor and dinosaur skull collector Nicolas Cage, isn't enough to pull Carrey out of his slump.

But then Jim meets Georgie: ruthless…


Book cover of The Glamorous Dead

Margaret Porter Author Of The Limits of Limelight

From my list on set in golden age Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in Golden Age Hollywood dates to my childhood of watching classic movies on television. It definitely inspired my career as an actress, which began when I was only ten and later expanded into tv and film. After the publication of twelve historical novels, I decided to write biographical fiction about actresses—famous and obscure—of the 1930s and 1940s. I regularly seek out Hollywood fiction for entertainment, and for research I rely on nonfiction (biographies, histories, sociological studies). I also collect ephemera, so at my author events I can share physical artifacts as well as Hollywood legend and lore!

Margaret's book list on set in golden age Hollywood

Margaret Porter Why did Margaret love this book?

This murder mystery novel is one that really stayed with me. It has a noir quality that fits the 1940s era, and a realistic depiction of the difficulties of employment at various levels in Hollywood. Suspicion falls on the protagonist when her roommate turns up dead on the set of a Barbara Stanwyck film, and through the course of the novel various scandals, mysteries, and cover-ups collide. Though the main character isn’t herself a star, far from it, she offers a particular perspective on the stars she knows and the industry as a whole. Stanwyck is one of Hollywood’s great talents and true survivors, as forceful on the page and as desperate to salvage her personal life as any of her movie characters.

By Suzanne Gates,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in the dream factory of the 1940s, this glittering debut novel follows a young Hollywood hopeful into a star-studded web of scandal, celebrity, and murder . . .
 
The chipped pink nail polish is a dead giveaway—no pun intended. When a human thumb is discovered near a Hollywood nightclub, it doesn’t take long for the police to identify its owner. Miss Penny Harp would recognize that pink anywhere: it belongs to her best friend, Rosemary. And so does the rest of the body buried beneath it. Rosemary, with the beauty and talent, who stood out from all other extras…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in movie stars, film, and Los Angeles?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about movie stars, film, and Los Angeles.

Movie Stars Explore 50 books about movie stars
Film Explore 232 books about film
Los Angeles Explore 335 books about Los Angeles