100 books like With Nails

By Richard E. Grant,

Here are 100 books that With Nails fans have personally recommended if you like With Nails. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far-East

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

I read Video Night in Kathmandu when I was travelling in India the first time around. It was an education in East-West relations and opened my eyes to travel being a huge privilege. I also learned to arrive in a new place with, as far as possible, no expectations. Pico Iyer is incredibly insightful and draws attention to the fluidity of culture. He acknowledges his Indian roots and how your own cultural heritage can’t help but colour your experience of a place: something to be mindful of. The video mentioned in the title is Rambo, rammed full of western hegemonic ideals, which, weirdly, was a smash hit everywhere in Asia. Iyer’s observations are absolutely on point, entertaining, highlighting the bizarre which, of course, is very funny, as well as thought-provoking.

By Pico Iyer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Video Night in Kathmandu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Pico Iyer began his travels, he wanted to know how Rambo conquered Asia. Why did Dire Straits blast out over Hiroshima, Bruce Springsteen over Bali and Madonna over all? If he was eager to learn where East meets West, how pop culture and imperialism penetrated through the world's most ancient civilisations, then the truths he began to uncover were more startling, more subtle, more complex than he ever anticipated. Who was hustling whom? When did this pursuit of illusions and vested interests, with it's curious mix of innocence and calculation, turn from confrontation into the mating dance? Iyer travelled…


Book cover of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

I borrowed Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim from a friend years back, and instantly fell in love with David Sedaris. 

I could have picked any book by Mr. Sedaris - they are all brilliant and have been hugely influential in my writing journey—but I vividly remember reading the chapter "Six to Eight Black Men", which beautifully illustrates a Dutch Christmas cultural tradition and shows it up in all its whacky weirdness, solely through storytelling and observation. Alone in my bedroom, I remember having to put the book down because I was howling with laughter. 

David Sedaris is the master of pinpointing the ludicrous, seemingly without effort or trying to be funny. 

He is one of my heroes. I think I became a bit obsessed.

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother's wedding. He mops his sister's floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives -- a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the…


Book cover of North Korea Journal

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

Michael Palin is possibly the best travel writer ever and it comes down to him being a naturally funny person. He also comes across as a super nice human, someone I would love to chat with in a café or bar and share travel stories.

I could have picked any one of his books, but I have chosen the North Korea Journal because it is a country that I probably won’t ever travel to unless, of course, I land a job there!

Michael Palin approaches each event with non-judgmental openness. It would be easy to slip into ridicule, but the humour comes from personal, very British comparisons. For example, the Kim Jong Un propaganda on a train trip he likens to ‘a mixture of the Brit Awards, Last Night of the Proms and an arms sales conference.’ Brilliant writing.

By Michael Palin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE BOOK BEHIND THE HIT DOCUMENTARY

A glimpse of life inside the world's most secretive country, as told by Britain's best-loved travel writer.

In May 2018, former Monty Python stalwart and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal, where the countryside has barely moved beyond a centuries-old peasant economy but where the cities have gleaming skyscrapers and luxurious underground train stations. His resulting documentary for Channel 5 was widely acclaimed.

Now he shares his day-by-day diary of his visit, in which he describes…


Book cover of Finding the Right Fit: Your Professional Guide for International Educator Recruiting Fairs and Amazing Stories of a Teacher Living Overseas

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Why am I passionate about this?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

Greg Lemoine and I share several parallels. We are both teachers on the international circuit, we have both completed a tour of duty in Kuwait and we both see the funny side. But what we share most is an insatiable appetite for travel and an inherent nosiness for learning about culture, discovering new places, and adventure, which sometimes finds its way onto a page.

With Finding the Right Fit you get two books in one: a guide to international teaching containing helpful tips and advice on how to land a job overseas, and a very entertaining memoir of someone who has years of experience in the field. As a solo traveller, Lemoine sees humour and comedy that come about when left to your own devices.

By Gregory Lemoine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In "Finding the Right Fit: Your Professional Guide for International Educator Recruiting Fairs and Amazing Stories of a Teacher Living Overseas" you will learn the ultimate step-by-step guide to succeeding at an international educator's job fair. In this guide, you will find tips to successfully prepare for interviews, how to present your most qualified self, and you will be engrossed with the narratives of many passionate educators who enjoy their work overseas. International educator recruiting fairs are unique experiences. Take this book with you and share it with other educators.


Book cover of Afterimage: The Indelible Catholic Imagination of Six American Filmmakers

Bob Whalen Author Of Casablanca's Conscience

From my list on books about the best movies (for movie fans).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian, with a special interest in the 20th century. I’ve written about Freud’s Vienna, the aftermath of the First World War, strikes in the 1920s and 1930s in America’s cotton South, the plot to assassinate Hitler, and the notorious 1940s gangsters nicknamed “Murder, Inc.”. What intrigues me about the 20th century are the era’s underlying values and the shocking and violent collisions among them. In Casablanca’s Conscience, I use the great film as a lens with which to take another look at the tumultuous times just a generation ago.

Bob's book list on books about the best movies (for movie fans)

Bob Whalen Why did Bob love this book?

Blake’s book explores the way in which a distinctly Catholic sensibility shaped the cinematic imaginations of Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, and Brian De Palma.

Blake’s point is not that these filmmakers were pious or even believers. He does demonstrate, though, that the Catholic cultures in which these filmmakers grew up significantly influenced both the stories they told and the images they created.

By Richard Aloysius Blake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blake, a noted film critic, reveals a Catholic imagination at work in the films of Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, and Brian De Palma. Their movies are permeated with such Catholic ideas as sacramentality (the sacred is present in the profane things of the world), mediation (God works in our lives through specific people and things), and communion (salvation depends on belonging to a community).


Book cover of Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong Author Of So Fetch: The Making of Mean Girls (And Why We're Still So Obsessed with It)

From my list on understanding how movies are made.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing takes readers behind the scenes of major moments in pop culture history and examines the lasting impact that our favorite TV shows, music, and movies have on our society and psyches. I investigate why pop culture matters. I have written eight books, including the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia, When Women Invented Television, Sex and the City and Us, and my latest, So Fetch. I’ve chosen books here that share my mission not only by going behind the scenes of major films but also by chronicling their effects on people’s real lives as well as culture and society at large.

Jennifer's book list on understanding how movies are made

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong Why did Jennifer love this book?

Biskind takes us right inside the boardrooms, movie shoots, and parties, oh, so many parties, that produced one of the biggest change movements in American cinematic history, the auteur wave of the 1970s. 

From the shocking success of Easy Rider through the tsunami of modern classics such as The Godfather, Chinatown, and Taxi Driver, as well as crowd-pleasers like Jaws, Biskind tells the story of how the likes of Scorcese and Coppola, DeNiro and Pacino, and other giants of modern film came to be.

Biskind was among the first to prove that Hollywood history could be as engaging and as serious a subject as presidential politics or world wars while remaining outrageously entertaining.

By Peter Biskind,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Easy Riders Raging Bulls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s -- an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and…


Book cover of On Gratitude

Ivan Nossa Author Of The Power and Magic of Gratitude: Expand the vibration of your life and put wings to your journey

From my list on the power of gratitude.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey of being an author has been a magical ride. I wrote my first book at 47 when nobody gave me credit about becoming a real author and later I left my good job to fulfill this dream and changed my life completely with a bit of thoughtlessness behavior, I must admit now if I look back. But it has been worthwhile. I wrote books on gratitude, forgiveness and love but my most famous book is The Power and Magic of Gratitude that became a bestseller in Italy. Since then I have been known for spreading the powerful message of Gratitude with countless meeting, conferences and events.

Ivan's book list on the power of gratitude

Ivan Nossa Why did Ivan love this book?

This is a star-filled book where each celebrity shares what they are most thankful for. Among others, you can find stories by Alicia Keys, Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow, B.B. King, Francis Ford Coppola, Dave Grohl, Stan Lee, Forest Whitaker, Ringo Star, and many many more. I have found this reading very profound as you can see the humble side of these celebrities and how they are thankful for all the gifts they received along the way. Every story is different and some are really intriguing but the common point is they do not forget to be grateful and that is the main message they leave in the heart of readers.

By Todd Aaron Jensen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What Are You Most Grateful For?

Ricky Gervais says...Pajamas.I've started wearing pajamas out, because they're more comfortable than trousers. (Laughs) I started out with jeans, then went to sweatpants about ten years ago. Now it's just pajamas. I wore them to the White House. I've gone whole hog.

Dolly Parton says...Humble Roots.I think being brought up dirt poor left with me with a feeling of what it was like to go without, so I can relate when people are having a hard time. In my case, being a songwriter, I'm able to write not only for and about myself, but…


Book cover of The Compleat Motherfucker: A History of the Mother of All Dirty Words

Philip Gooden Author Of Bad Words: And What They Say about Us

From my list on swear words.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write fiction, mostly historical mysteries, and non-fiction, generally about the English language. Both aspects of my writing reflect an interest in the past and how it continually shapes the present. The roots of English go back thousands of years to Latin, Anglo-Saxon, French, and many other sources. Yet the newest term to the vast storehouse of language may have been added only last week. Recently I’ve been writing about oaths, swear words, and bad language.

Philip's book list on swear words

Philip Gooden Why did Philip love this book?

Is it possible to write a whole book on a single word and a swear word at that? The answer is yes and the proof is Jim Dawson’s witty and comprehensive history of the MF word. The title, a spin on the 17th century classic The Compleat Angler, shows that Dawson will be wide-ranging in his references. Crammed with examples and interesting stories, it also settles the question of whether, when it comes to uttering expletives, Bruce Willis or Samuel L Jackson is Hollywood’s most proficient MF.

By Jim Dawson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I've had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" shouted Samuel Jackson in the movie Snakes on a Plane. It was the use of the famous expletive that brought on huge promotional buzz. The best-selling book On Bullshit won its audience from its shockingly unapologetic treatment of its title rather than its fairly pedestrian academic inquiry.

The Compleat Motherfucker is an entertaining and informative investigation into the offensive slang, touching on African American culture and other curious seeds of American subcultural and pop cultural movements.

Author Jim Dawson also wrote the brisk-selling previous study of fartology, Who Cut…


Book cover of The Dark of the Sun

Tony Park Author Of Blood Trail

From my list on to read on an African safari.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Australian who fell in love with Africa in my 30s. I've now written 20 thrillers set in Africa and several non-fiction biographies. My wife and I have travelled extensively on the continent and now spend at least half our lives in Africa, and the remainder in Australia. I'm passionate about Africa's people, wildlife, and fragile natural environment. While my books focus on some of the continent's problems – especially the illegal trade in wildlife – I'm a sucker for a happy ending and find no shortage of positive, inspirational people on my travels who serve as the inspiration for the good guys and girls in my stories. 

Tony's book list on to read on an African safari

Tony Park Why did Tony love this book?

I'm sometimes compared to the late, great, Wilbur Smith, who wrote dozens of books set in Africa. I think that if there is a similarity, then my books are probably most like Wilbur's earlier novels, where he tended to write about contemporary southern Africa (as I do now). My favourites were his stand-alone novels, including The Dark of the Sun about a group of mercenaries who have to rescue a train load of civilians during the fighting in the former Belgian Congo in the 1960s. It was made into a movie back in the day (The Mercenaries), and later provided the inspiration for the Bruce Willis film, Tears of the Sun.

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An action-packed thriller by global bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.

'A master storyteller' - Sunday Times

'Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared' - The Times

'No one does adventure quite like Smith' - Daily Mirror

The highest prize comes at the highest price . . .

Captain Bruce Curry has a simple enough mission: to lead his mercenary soldiers to rescue a town cut off by rebel fighting in the Belgian Congo. But events quickly take a turn for the worse as it becomes clear that the town's diamond supplies are the real focus of…


Book cover of Woodstock Goes to Hollywood

Tom McCaffrey Author Of The Wise Ass

From my list on bringing magic into your daily life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Walter Mitty view of the world. If I were a movie character, I would be Edward Bloom, in Big Fish. I have been a lawyer in the entertainment industry for almost four decades. As a result of my personality and profession, my books mix fantasy, science fiction, and the mystical into our everyday world, and I do it in a way that makes you wonder if what I’m telling you is true, causes you to hope it is true and compels you to wish you could join in the adventures.    

Tom's book list on bringing magic into your daily life

Tom McCaffrey Why did Tom love this book?

Woodstock Goes To Hollywood is a charming and wonderful book.

It can be read by any age group and shared among generations of readers. It is Winnie the Pooh for this generation. The main character is adorable and has that good-hearted naivete that causes you to instantly bond with him and root for his success. 

The story has lots of funny twists and turns and lots of interesting characters. It will most likely become one of those literary legacies that are handed down from one generation to another and is primed to be a successful series. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Hollywood, presidential biography, and film?

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