10 books like Where the Girls Are

By Susan J. Douglas,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

The Age of Movies

By Pauline Kael,

Book cover of The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael, long time film critic for New Yorker magazine, brought to her reviews a combination of the visceral and the intellectual that I found absolutely delicious. For me, reading her was like eating a scrumptious meal. She was not afraid to employ rough colloquialisms; she understood, rightly, that they lent vitality and reality to writing. And she was conversational, often to the chagrin of the grammar-checkers at the magazine. She showed you could be smart and still talk like a regular person. She is still delicious to read, even though the movies aren’t currently playing. And she cracked open media criticism for the rest of us, making it possible to write seriously about Jaws and The Godfather and not just Ingmar Bergman. She also clearly loved sex in the movies, and talked about it frequently and vividly.  In a then quite reserved magazine like the New Yorker, that…

The Age of Movies

By Pauline Kael,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


The Image

By Daniel J. Boorstin,

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

Boorstin’s political perspective is conservative, but as a media critic he introduced one of the most significant concepts for understanding, not only our media-saturated culture in general, but the abuses of right-wing television, such as FOX. His concept of the ‘pseudo-event’ is one that I have found incredibly useful in teaching and thinking over the years. A pseudo-event is something that acquires its reality and power not because it is based on fact, but simply because the media has reported it, repeated it, exaggerated it, re-played it, made a mantra of it. Ring a bell? “Email Scandal”? “No Collusion, No Obstruction”? Boorstin also talks about the human pseudo-event, which is essentially the creation of celebrities whose fame is due neither to talent or any other special quality but simply to the fact that they become well-known. Boorstin published these insights in 1960!  I think he’d feel both intellectually validated and…

The Image

By Daniel J. Boorstin,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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.


On Photography

By Susan Sontag,

Book cover of On Photography

Sontag, like Boorstin, was prescient. She was the first to make the claim, for example, that photography is misleading and seductive because it looks like unaltered reality, but never is. Sontag had in mind the photographer’s choice of what to aim her camera at. But clearly, her insight is even truer today as advertisers – and even ordinary people creating family albums, or posting their bodies for perusal on Instagram – have at their disposal digital technology that can make significant alterations that present bodies as firmer, younger, less blemished than they actually are. She also viewed the mere act of taking a picture as predatory: when we see something shocking or beautiful, our first impulse is to get out of the camera and “capture” it. She died, however, before the smartphone enabled observers to capture injustice and abuse, and I often wonder what she would have to say about…

On Photography

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…


Maus I

By Art Spiegelman,

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

This extraordinary graphic novel was recommended to me by my teacher training tutor years ago and I’ve never quite got over it. It’s a work of genius, that approaches the horrific subject of the Holocaust via the narrator’s father, rendering the Jewish people as mice and the Nazis as cats. It’s incredibly powerful and yet so easy to read, deceptively so. When I came to write my own novel about the Warsaw Ghetto and forest partisans of World War Two Poland the education that Maus gave me was never far from the forefront of my mind. A brilliant lesson in the power of words and pictures working together to sear those images into your consciousness forever. An absolutely unforgettable reading experience.

Maus I

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

4 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…


The Official Preppy Handbook

By Lisa Birnbach,

Book cover of The Official Preppy Handbook

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.

The Official Preppy Handbook

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


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…


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,…


How We Live Now

By Bella DePaulo,

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

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.

How We Live Now

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…


The Wreckage of My Presence

By Casey Wilson,

Book cover of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays

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.  

The Wreckage of My Presence

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,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in pop culture, pop music, and sociology?

7,000+ 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 101 books about pop culture
Pop Music Explore 27 books about pop music
Sociology Explore 74 books about sociology