100 books like Where the Girls Are

By Susan J. Douglas,

Here are 100 books that Where the Girls Are fans have personally recommended if you like Where the Girls Are. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ 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 The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

Hanna Flint Author Of Strong Female Character

From my list on championing women in cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a London-based critic, author, and host whose love affair with film began after seeing The Lion King in the cinema as a kid. I trained as a journalist because I wanted to talk about the world. Since then I’ve been covering film and culture for the likes of Empire Magazine, Time Out, and IGN. I co-host MTV Movies and the weekly film reviews podcast Fade to Black; co-founder of The First Film Club event series and podcast, and am a member of London's Critics' Circle. I'm a voice for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the entertainment industry and an advocate for MENA representation as a writer of Tunisian heritage.

Hanna's book list on championing women in cinema

Hanna Flint Why did Hanna love this book?

We, female film critics, are still underrepresented in the critical world but Pauline Kael found success and respect at a time when our numbers were even fewer.

This collection showcases her talent for writing and her keen eye for what makes a movie or a performance great or terrible.

From Bonnie and Clyde to Last Tango in Paris, Kael’s compelling cinematic observations make you want to rewatch these films while also highlighting how even the best of critics can fall foul to unconscious biases (just check out her Othello review!).

We can learn much further we’ve come when it comes to checking those blinkered perspectives. 

By Pauline Kael,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A master film critic is at her witty, exhilarating, and opinionated best in this career-spanning collection featuring pieces on Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, and other modern movie classics

“Film criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply,” Pauline Kael once observed, “just because you must use everything you are and everything you know.” Between 1968 and 1991, as regular film reviewer for The New Yorker, Kael used those formidable tools to shape the tastes of a generation. She had a gift for capturing, with force and fluency, the essence of an actor’s gesture or the full…


Book cover of The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America

Landon Y. Jones Author Of Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers

From my list on celebrity culture and what it is doing to America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by celebrities and heroes ever since I was a child. That compulsion became something I wanted to understand. I got my chance as the head editor of People magazine. Over the years, I met more than my share of celebrities – Ronald Reagan, Tom Hanks, Malcolm X, and Princess Diana, to name only a few. I began to take notes about my brushes with fame and think about celebrities in history and why they have recently become so dominant in our culture. Celebrity Nation is the result. Enjoy it!

Landon's book list on celebrity culture and what it is doing to America

Landon Y. Jones Why did Landon love this book?

Daniel Boorstin’s The Image is an amazing study by the former Librarian of Congress that first set in place many of the ideas about celebrities that are still with us today.

“The celebrity is a person who is known for [their] well-knowness,” Boorstin wrote. He describes “pseudo-events”, the manufactured illusions that we mistake for reality in a media-saturated world.

Drawing on examples like Charles Lindbergh, Boorstin shows how we come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety. Thus, the heroes of the past are blurred before our eyes and eventually disappear.

The Image is the first book I read about celebrity and it remains one of the best.

By Daniel J. Boorstin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1962, this wonderfully provocative book introduced the notion of “pseudo-events”—events such as press conferences and presidential debates, which are manufactured solely in order to be reported—and the contemporary definition of celebrity as “a person who is known for his well-knownness.” Since then Daniel J. Boorstin’s prophetic vision of an America inundated by its own illusions has become an essential resource for any reader who wants to distinguish the manifold deceptions of our culture from its few enduring truths.


Book cover of On Photography

Barry Sandywell Author Of Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms

From my list on beginning the study of visual culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis upon questions of culture and critical research in the expanding field of visual culture. Recent projects include Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. The passion to understand the thought and visual culture of both the ancient and modern world continues to inform my work. 

Barry's book list on beginning the study of visual culture

Barry Sandywell Why did Barry love this book?

On Photography is Sontag’s attempt to develop the thought of Barthes, Benjamin, and others and apply the resultant perspective to the critical understanding of the fundamental role of photography in modern life. The book is constructed as a series of interconnected essays, each of which explores the moral and dialectical character of photographic interventions. Photography embodies the moral ambiguity of human activity: the camera claims to deliver truth but is essentially selective and partial; photography reveals and conceals the real; the photograph is an artificial mode of representation but claims to provide a `picture’ of life that can only be captured through the camera.

This ambiguous ontology of the image impacts upon both the act of image-making and the interpretive task of reading and understanding the image. With modern photography the viewer is constituted in a dual movement of separation (and alienation) and connectivity (and communality). Photographic engagement constitutes, so…

By Susan Sontag,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The most original and illuminating study of the subject.' The New Yorker

Photographs are everywhere. From high art to family albums to legal evidence, they capture and document the world around us. And whether we use them to expose, reveal or remember, they hold an enduring power.

In this essential and revelatory volume, Susan Sontag confronts important questions surrounding the power dynamics between photographer and subject, the blurred boundary between lived events and recreated images, and the desires that lead us to record our lives.

'Complex and contradictory... one of America's greatest public intellectuals' Observer

'Susan Sontag offers enough food…


Book cover of Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History

Matthew Arnold Stern Author Of The Remainders

From my list on Jewish families in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reseda, California plays an important part in my novels. I grew up there in a middle-class Jewish family, and we experienced the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. My parents got divorced, and my brother and I were raised by our working mom until she became paralyzed by a stroke. I found refuge in writing. I wrote The Remainders in 2016 during a tumultuous time when issues of family conflict, homelessness, and the growing cruelty of society came into focus. Still, I believe decency and compassion will prevail. The books I write and enjoy reading seek to find light in the darkest of circumstances.

Matthew's book list on Jewish families in crisis

Matthew Arnold Stern Why did Matthew love this book?

I read this powerful graphic novel series when the first collections came out in the 1980s.

It shows the horrors of the Holocaust and the impact it has on the families of the survivors. Maus is best known for depicting Jews as mice and Nazis as cats, but Art’s troubled relationship with his father Vladik and the death of his mother Anja by suicide frame the story.

Maus is my favorite graphic novel series and a must-read for understanding the Holocaust and how it shaped Jewish life since.

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Maus I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling first installment of the graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker) • PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • One of Variety’s “Banned and Challenged Books Everyone Should Read”

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his…


Book cover of The United States of Epic Fails: 52 Crazy Stories and Blunders Through History That You Didn't Get Taught in School

David P. Barash Author Of OOPS! The Worst Blunders of All Time

From my list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an emeritus professor of psychology (University of Washington) who has long been intrigued by the mistakes that people have made throughout history. I’ve long been struck by Oppenheimer’s observation, immediately after the Trinity explosion, that “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This led me to look into the wide array of mistakes, from the mythic, literary, athletic, business, political, medical, and military. In writing OOPS!, I let myself go in a way that I’ve never before, writing with a critical and wise-ass style that isn’t strictly academic, but is factually accurate and, frankly, was a lot of fun!

David's book list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic

David P. Barash Why did David love this book?

This is an accessible account of history through the lens of how “mistakes were made,” and how most of us aren’t told about them.

It is plain old-fashioned great fun to read about blunders in the worlds of business, sports, pop culture, even some of America’s epic military failures (so long as they happened long ago!). A great corrective to claims that the US is uniquely blessed with perfection.

By Bill O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The United States of Epic Fails as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have you ever wondered what the biggest failures in American history are?

Which sports teams just can’t seem to catch a break and keep failing, over and over and over in the most disastrous manner?

What are some of the biggest failures in American pop culture?

In The United States of Epic Fails: 52 Crazy Stories and Blunders Through History That You Didn't Get Taught in School you’ll learn all about these embarrassing moments and many other American failures on an epic level.

Here you will find out:

What film almost destroyed a major studio and killed a movie genre?…


Book cover of Night Shift

Kenya Moss-Dyme Author Of Daymares

From my list on horror that deliver the most bang for the bite.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like most writers, I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a child; but my preferences were witches and haunted houses, rather than princesses and talking frogs. As I developed my own writing, I wanted to tell stories that were reflective of my world but with a dark twist. My first completed story was "Patchwork", about a woman emptying the marital home after the breakdown of her marriage. I went on to participate in several popular horror anthologies. I really enjoy the challenge of writing a great short story because you have to get the reader in a chokehold early and then deliver that gut punch sooner than later.

Kenya's book list on horror that deliver the most bang for the bite

Kenya Moss-Dyme Why did Kenya love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Official Preppy Handbook

Maureen Callahan Author Of American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

From my list on American pop culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maureen Callahan is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning investigative journalist, columnist, and commentator. She has covered everything from pop culture to politics. Her writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, New York, Spin, and the New York Post, where she is Critic-at-Large. She lives in New York. For Shepherd, Callahan has selected her favorite books about American pop culture, which is currently dominated by her favorite subgenre, true crime.

Maureen's book list on American pop culture

Maureen Callahan Why did Maureen love this book?

I find WASP culture absurd and fascinating. I love that rich people, really rich people, have a fixation with stickers, slapping abbreviations for Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket or East Hampton on their luxury vehicles even though said luxury vehicles, parked in said locales, really should say it all. Such is the taxonomy writ large in Lisa Birnbach’s seminal Preppy Handbook, which explores other WASP signifiers such as “the politics of monogramming,” the elevation of old clothes over new, and what your choice of private schools, charities and vacation spots says about you. Pairs well with Take Ivy, a cult photography book by the Japanese photographer T. Hayashida, who spent the early-to-mid 1960s photographing American preps on college campuses — with prep soon becoming the rage in the Japan’s hipster Ginza district.

By Lisa Birnbach,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A facetious guide to emulating the look, speech patterns, thinking, and lifestyle of those who attend prep schools and are a part of high society


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

Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton Author Of Mina

From my list on Hell Chosŏn.

Why are we passionate about this?

A couple who have been claimed by Korea—Bruce as a US Peace Corps volunteer there and Ju-Chan as a native Korean and an English teacher—and its culture, society, history, and especially literary heritage. We have been translating modern Korean fiction into English since 1980. Bruce was fated to become involved with Korean literature by virtue of being born on October 9, the day in 1446 when Great King Sejong promulgated (officially announced) the creation of the Korean alphabet, hangŭl, to the people of Korea.

Bruce's book list on Hell Chosŏn

Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton Why did Bruce love this book?

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.

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…


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

Maureen Callahan Author Of American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

From my list on American pop culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maureen Callahan is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning investigative journalist, columnist, and commentator. She has covered everything from pop culture to politics. Her writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, New York, Spin, and the New York Post, where she is Critic-at-Large. She lives in New York. For Shepherd, Callahan has selected her favorite books about American pop culture, which is currently dominated by her favorite subgenre, true crime.

Maureen's book list on American pop culture

Maureen Callahan Why did Maureen love this book?

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.

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,…


Book cover of How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century

Maya Bernadett Author Of Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A multicultural journey from Harlem to Tohono O'dham

From my list on on the power of family to shape us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Family is one of the few truly universal experiences that all human beings have, because we all come from somewhere. Every human on Earth is raised by someone, so it’s something we can all relate to, for good or for ill. Universal experiences like family allow us as human beings to relate to others, and that common ground is what provides joy and meaning in life. I appreciate that I don’t have to have a master’s degree or PhD in family studies or family therapy to glean insights into how our families shape us. My own observations and analytical writer’s mind made me realize the importance of storytelling in keeping families together, especially across generations.

Maya's book list on on the power of family to shape us

Maya Bernadett Why did Maya love this book?

Family can be an emotionally charged word, especially for people who come from toxic families or don’t even know their biological families. This is why I appreciate this non-fiction book by Bella DePaulo, which acknowledges that there is more than one way to be a family. She goes well beyond the typical nuclear family of mother, father, and biological children to explore how people are living together in the 21st century. One type of configuration she explores, the multi-generational household, is near and dear to my heart because I grew up like that, and it changed my life for the better.

By Bella DePaulo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How We Live Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A close-up examination and exploration, How We Live Now challenges our old concepts of what it means to be a family and have a home, opening the door to the many diverse and thriving experiments of living in twenty-first century America.

Across America and around the world, in cities and suburbs and small towns, people from all walks of life are redefining our “lifespaces”—the way we live and who we live with. The traditional nuclear family in their single-family home on a suburban lot has lost its place of prominence in contemporary life. Today, Americans have more choices than ever…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in pop culture, pop music, and sociology?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about pop culture, pop music, and sociology.

Pop Culture Explore 145 books about pop culture
Pop Music Explore 47 books about pop music
Sociology Explore 138 books about sociology