100 books like We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

By Samantha Irby,

Here are 100 books that We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. fans have personally recommended if you like We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Chronology of Water: A Memoir

Christie Tate Author Of Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

From my list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading almost exclusively memoirs and personal essays for over a decade. The women who generously wrote about their bodies—the bowels, the breasts, the bad sex—lit up the path for me when I was drowning in my own body shame and body confusion. Every year I read at least 50 memoirs, and the ones on this list are the ones I revisit over and over. I also study writing with Lidia Yuknavitch at Corporeal Writing, where I first heard six years ago that “the body has a point of view.” I love this as a writer and a reader. So much of women’s bodies and experiences has been hidden away or unstoried, but those days are coming to a close, and these writers are leading the way.

Christie's book list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives

Christie Tate Why did Christie love this book?

Yuknavitch’s memoir is a gloves-off gut-punch of stories about her life as a competitive swimmer, a daughter of a tyrannical father, and an artist-in-the-making. Best of all: The sex scenes are like nothing I’ve ever read. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE.

By Lidia Yuknavitch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the debris of her troubled early life, Lidia Yuknavitch weaves an astonishing tale of survival. A kind of memoir that is also a paean to the pursuit of beauty, self-expression, desire - for men and women - and the exhilaration of swimming, The Chronology of Water lays a life bare.

It is a life that navigates, and transcends, abuse, addiction, self-destruction and the crushing loss of a stillborn child. It is the life of a misfit, one that forges a fierce and untrodden path to creativity and comes together in the shape of love.


Book cover of The Crying Book

Marin Sardy Author Of The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia

From my list on empowering personal stories of mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the shadow of my mother’s untreated and very damaging mental illness, and despite how much I loved her, I struggled with having few ways to articulate or even understand how it shaped our lives. I went on to study biology and writing, and I now often weave psychology and neuroscience into my literary essays and memoir. I write to fill the gaps between my own experiences and the ways I have seen mental illness represented—or more often, misrepresented—in our culture. I write to explore mental health as it exists in real families and communities, and to tell nuanced, loving stories that fight against stigma.

Marin's book list on empowering personal stories of mental illness

Marin Sardy Why did Marin love this book?

This lyrical, book-length essay is a meditation not so much on a diagnosis as on one of its most visible expressions—tears. Exploring depression through the lens of the phenomenon of crying, The Crying Book is loaded with facts both esoteric and banal. Yet it is also deeply personalized by author Heather Christle’s reflections on her own struggles with depressive episodes, as well as on the deaths of other poets to suicide, and the allure and danger of romanticizing such acts. Christle’s loose, fragmentary approach gives her the freedom to wander far and wide as she considers the art and act of crying, allowing depression to surface as an experience that is at once individual and deeply embedded in its cultural and historical contexts.

By Heather Christle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Crying Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"A poignant and piercing examination of the phenomenon of tears—exhaustive, yes, but also open-ended. . . A deeply felt, and genuinely touching, book." —Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias

"Spellbinding and propulsive—the map of a luminous mind in conversation with books, songs, friends, scientific theories, literary histories, her own jagged joy, and despair. Heather Christle is a visionary writer." —Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks

Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and now must reckon with her own depression and the birth of her first child. As she faces her grief and…


Book cover of Girlhood

Katherine Dykstra Author Of What Happened to Paula: An Unsolved Death and the Danger of American Girlhood

From my list on the complexity of American girlhood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised in the Midwest by parents who told me I could have whatever kind of life I wanted. I took them at their word, never considering that my gender might come with limitations. It wasn’t until I had my first child and began investigating Paula’s case that the true complexity of womanhood began to dawn on me. I’ve since spent nine years reading and writing and thinking about the experience of being a woman in the modern world. 

Katherine's book list on the complexity of American girlhood

Katherine Dykstra Why did Katherine love this book?

Girlhood was published while I was in edits and though I bought the book, I couldn’t risk reading it. The subject matter was too close to my own. What if I wanted to add or (gasp) rewrite? I’m glad I waited. Febos’ stunning essays perfectly encapsulate the confusion of adolescent girlhood, the mixed messages—from adults, from our own bodies—and the traps that lay in wait.My favorite, “The Mirror Test,” contains lines that crackle such as: “Before it carried any sexual connotation, the word slut was a term for a slovenly woman… A slut was a careless girl, hands sunk haphazardly into the dough…—eyes cast out the window, mouth humming a song, always thinking of something else. Oh was I ever a messy child. A real slut in the making.”

By Melissa Febos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
National Bestseller
Lambda Literary Award Finalist

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME * NPR * The Washington Post * Kirkus Reviews * Washington Independent Review of Books * The Millions * Electric Literature * Ms Magazine * Entropy Magazine * Largehearted Boy * Passerbuys

“Irreverent and original.” –New York Times

“Magisterial.” –The New Yorker

“An intoxicating writer.” –The Atlantic

“A classic!” –Mary Karr

“A true light in the dark.” –Stephanie Danler

“An essential, heartbreaking project.” –Carmen Maria Machado

A gripping set of stories about the forces that shape girls…


Book cover of Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning

Christie Tate Author Of Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

From my list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading almost exclusively memoirs and personal essays for over a decade. The women who generously wrote about their bodies—the bowels, the breasts, the bad sex—lit up the path for me when I was drowning in my own body shame and body confusion. Every year I read at least 50 memoirs, and the ones on this list are the ones I revisit over and over. I also study writing with Lidia Yuknavitch at Corporeal Writing, where I first heard six years ago that “the body has a point of view.” I love this as a writer and a reader. So much of women’s bodies and experiences has been hidden away or unstoried, but those days are coming to a close, and these writers are leading the way.

Christie's book list on the glorious truth of women’s bodies and their lives

Christie Tate Why did Christie love this book?

Dederer’s book explores her sudden, mid-life yearning for carnal pleasure and compares them to her promiscuous youth. We see her sleeping with enough people in college to earn a recommendation on a park bench (“for a good time call Clare Dederer"), and also as a married mother and artist who longs for something more, but she’s not sure what it is. Punctuated with hilarious entries from her childhood journal, this book delivers on every level.

By Claire Dederer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hilarious, confrontational and moving story of one woman's attempts to navigate her way through the challenges of mid-life, for lovers of HOW TO BE A WOMAN and I'M NOT WITH THE BAND. 'Claire Dederer is not only a brilliant author, but an honest and brave one' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE

Claire Dederer's youth was wild, an endless cascade of beer and rock and acid and sex that left her benumbed and adrift. But then, after two decades of disciplined transformation, she'd become a successful writer, a faithful wife, and a mother - a real adult. That…


Book cover of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays

Tracy Dawson Author Of Let Me Be Frank: A Book about Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

From my list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, actor, and comedian. I began on the Second City mainstage in Toronto. I was a writer and an actor on the Canadian television series, Call Me Fitz and I won the Gemini Award and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for my work opposite Jason Priestley on that show. Let Me Be Frank is my first book and it brings together so much of what I love to write and read: feminism, women, history, underdogs, and humor.

Tracy's book list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women

Tracy Dawson Why did Tracy love this book?

As cliché as it sounds, I truly did laugh and cry my way through this excellent book of essays by actress and comedian Casey Wilson. Wilson is an excellent storyteller and someone who is just profoundly, naturally funny. But she does not shy away from some heartbreaking and emotionally raw material too, which, quite frankly, is my jam. I did that thing where you get both the book and the audiobook, so when you are walking the dog you can still be reading. I highly recommend following suit because Wilson is such a  delight to listen to. I may have had to pull my car over while listening one day because it was not safe to drive whilst weeping uncontrollably.  

By Casey Wilson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wreckage of My Presence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Magnificent." -People Magazine

The instant New York Times bestseller: Laugh-out-loud, deeply insightful, and emotion-filled essays from multitalented actress, comedian, podcaster, and writer Casey Wilson.

Casey Wilson has a lot on her mind and she isn't afraid to share. In this dazzling collection, each essay skillfully constructed and brimming with emotion, she shares her thoughts on the joys and vagaries of modern-day womanhood and motherhood, introduces the not-quite-typical family that made her who she is, and persuasively argues that lowbrow pop culture is the perfect lens through which to examine human nature.

Whether she's extolling the virtues of eating in bed,…


Book cover of A Room Of One's Own

Ben Hutchinson Author Of On Purpose: Ten Lessons on the Meaning of Life

From my list on essays to help us think for ourselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an essayist, literary critic, and professor of literature, books are what John Milton calls my ‘pretious life-blood.’ As a writer, teacher, and editor, I spend my days trying to make meaning out of reading. This is the idea behind my most recent book, On Purpose: it’s easy to make vague claims about the edifying powers of ‘great writing,’ but what does this actually mean? How can literature help us live? My five recommendations all help us reflect on the power of books to help us think for ourselves, as I hope do my own books, including The Midlife Mind (2020) and Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction (2018).

Ben's book list on essays to help us think for ourselves

Ben Hutchinson Why did Ben love this book?

I love this book not just because of its enduring importance - Woolf remains a towering feminist figure - but because of its vivid, imaginative writing.

Based on lectures given to female students at Cambridge, Woolf’s essay argues powerfully for the intellectual independence of women. Such independence, she reasons, must first be materially possible, hence the female writer’s need for that famous "room of one’s own."

To exemplify this, Woolf imagines a certain Judith Shakespeare, the playwright’s equally talented sister: would she not be incapable of achieving the same success as her brother owing to the patriarchal structures of society? In our post-Me Too world a century later, the question remains vital.

By Virginia Woolf,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Room Of One's Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.


Book cover of Thick: And Other Essays

Tracy Dawson Author Of Let Me Be Frank: A Book about Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

From my list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, actor, and comedian. I began on the Second City mainstage in Toronto. I was a writer and an actor on the Canadian television series, Call Me Fitz and I won the Gemini Award and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for my work opposite Jason Priestley on that show. Let Me Be Frank is my first book and it brings together so much of what I love to write and read: feminism, women, history, underdogs, and humor.

Tracy's book list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women

Tracy Dawson Why did Tracy love this book?

A National Book Award finalist, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Thick is a brilliantly written compendium of essays that should be read by everyone. This awe-inspiring collection tackles beauty standards, media, capitalism, and white supremacy all with a fierce wit and through a Black feminist lens. You will count yourself lucky to read these essays by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Cottom is wildly sharp and funny. She is an academic and profound but this book is accessible and readable. If you are like me you will want to read this twice.  

By Tressie McMillan Cottom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom - award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed - is unapologetically 'thick': deemed 'thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,' McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work.In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom - award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed - is unapologetically 'thick': deemed 'thick where I should…


Book cover of Delicacy: A memoir about cake and death

Tracy Dawson Author Of Let Me Be Frank: A Book about Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

From my list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, actor, and comedian. I began on the Second City mainstage in Toronto. I was a writer and an actor on the Canadian television series, Call Me Fitz and I won the Gemini Award and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for my work opposite Jason Priestley on that show. Let Me Be Frank is my first book and it brings together so much of what I love to write and read: feminism, women, history, underdogs, and humor.

Tracy's book list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women

Tracy Dawson Why did Tracy love this book?

Katy Wix, the brilliant actress and comedian, has written a memoir about “cake and death” in which she delves into womanhood, body image, disordered eating, grief and addiction. Because Wix is a genius comedian, she is able to paint the deeply human,  painfully honest stuff here while also making us laugh. Again, this is the type of work that I gravitate to! Honest, human, darkly humorous…I simply adore truth-tellers. Ones,  like Wix, that make us laugh, make us uncomfortable, make us look at our own “shit”,  but also help us to heal.  

By Katy Wix,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Mesmerising . . . an extraordinary piece of writing.' - The i paper

'A book that has the rare quality of being both poetic and accessible . . . missing Delicacy would be a huge mistake.' - Guardian

'A book that gets wiser, darker, and more brutally truthful every time you turn the page. Word of mouth is slowly turning it into a passionately recommended cult hit. A book you give a friend in trouble.' - Caitlin Moran

'Hilarious . . . heartbreaking.' - The Observer

'A layer cake of truth, pain and wisdom iced with charm. I loved it.'…


Book cover of The Prince of Minor Writers: The Selected Essays of Max Beerbohm

Phillip Lopate Author Of To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction

From my list on comic essay collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a champion of the essay form for some time, starting with my popular anthology Art of the Personal Essay and extending to my more recent trio of anthologies of the American essay. At the same time I have written four personal essay collections of my own, and I know I am really cooking when I can still laugh or at least smile at my jokes after the fifth or tenth reading of a piece I wrote. I have to admit that I can only appreciate writing (by myself or others) that is amusing or at least ironic, never solemn: to me the truth of existence is comic, like it or not.

Phillip's book list on comic essay collections

Phillip Lopate Why did Phillip love this book?

I love Max, he always makes me laugh because he is so naughty and mischievous. He is utterly unafraid of going against the grain of social propriety, or admitting to his own selfish motives, jealousies, and contrariety. He has a wonderfully conversational style that engages the reader without pandering. (I should also admit that I wrote the introduction to this collection).

By Max Beerbohm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

AN NYRB CLASSICS ORIGINAL
 
Virginia Woolf called Max Beerbohm “the prince” of essayists, F. W. Dupee praised his “whim of iron” and “cleverness amounting to genius,” while Beerbohm himself noted that “only the insane take themselves quite seriously.” From his precocious debut as a dandy in 1890s Oxford until he put his pen aside in the aftermath of World War II, Beerbohm was recognized as an incomparable observer of modern life and an essayist whose voice was always and only his own. Here Phillip Lopate, one of the finest essayists of our day, has selected the finest of Beerbohm’s essays.…


Book cover of The Most of Nora Ephron

Phillip Lopate Author Of To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction

From my list on comic essay collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a champion of the essay form for some time, starting with my popular anthology Art of the Personal Essay and extending to my more recent trio of anthologies of the American essay. At the same time I have written four personal essay collections of my own, and I know I am really cooking when I can still laugh or at least smile at my jokes after the fifth or tenth reading of a piece I wrote. I have to admit that I can only appreciate writing (by myself or others) that is amusing or at least ironic, never solemn: to me the truth of existence is comic, like it or not.

Phillip's book list on comic essay collections

Phillip Lopate Why did Phillip love this book?

No one who reads Nora on her breasts or her neck will ever forget her hilarious takes on her own insecurities. Her style seems effortlessly casual, but the closer you look, the more you see how cunningly put together these essays are. A superb combination of vignette and rumination, these pieces rescue the detritus of everyday life and show how absurd our American reality is.

By Nora Ephron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE ULTIMATE NORA EPHRON COLLECTION, PACKED WITH WIT, WISDOM AND COMFORT, WITH A FOREWORD FROM INDIA KNIGHT

'It's got a little bit of everything, from witty essays on feminism, beauty, and ageing to profiles of empowering female figures' ELLE

'The perfect introduction to the iconic writer' STYLIST

INCLUDING:

* Nora's much-loved essays on everything from friendship to feminism to journalism

* Extracts from her bestselling novel Heartburn

* Scenes from her hilarious screenplay for When Harry Met Sally

* Her favourite recipes

* The complete text of her play, Lucky Guy

PRAISE FOR NORA EPHRON

'So bold and so vulnerable…


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