The most recommended books about alcohol

Who picked these books? Meet our 14 experts.

14 authors created a book list connected to alcohol, and here are their favorite alcohol books.
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Book cover of It's So Magic

Elizabeth Marshall Author Of The Drinking Curriculum: A Cultural History of Childhood and Alcohol

From my list on alcohol and childhood between horror and humor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lover of champagne and popular culture and am fascinated with how humor can be used to confront taboo topics and subvert familiar orthodoxies. As a cultural critic, I study how visual artists challenge notions of childhood innocence by adding images of drinking and drunkenness to their adaptations of children’s texts and childish objects. Through these re-imaginings, we see how children’s culture is drinking culture. The most important lessons about alcohol and childhood in the drinking curriculum walk a fine line between humor and dread. My other books include Graphic Girlhoods: Visualizing Education and Violence and Witnessing Girlhood: Toward an Intersectional Tradition of Life Writing (with Leigh Gilmore).

Elizabeth's book list on alcohol and childhood between horror and humor

Elizabeth Marshall Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I love all of Lynda Barry’s comics, but It’s So Magic! is my favorite collection.

Barry’s adolescent heroines steal wine from parents and from synagogues; they drink the cheap stuff like Boones Farm Apple Wine, and concoctions of mixed hard liquor made from whatever they can find in their houses that give the reader a hangover just thinking about it.

Barry’s graphic narratives also include stories of sexual abuse that are visually overlaid with gross-out drinking humor that will make some laugh and others turn away. Through visual humor, she brings into view both drinking girls and knowledge about sexual assault often hidden from view.

Barry’s alternative lessons remain radical in this politically fraught time when neo-temperance advocates attempt to tie #MeToo to abstinence, once again trying to enforce the idea that girls and women are to blame if they drink too much alcohol.

By Lynda Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's So Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lynda Barry s Ernie Pook s Comeek... made the world look wild, ugly, joyful, and mysterious.' The New Yorker. Maybonne Mullen is 'riding on a bummer' according to her little sister, Marlys. As much as teenage Maybonne prays and tries she just can t connect to the magic of living. How can she when there s so much upheaval at home and school, not to mention the world at large? And yet Marlys always seems able to tap into it. In It s So Magic, the Mullen family dynamics are in flux. Uncle John makes a brief return to town…


Book cover of Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

Karen Sherman Author Of Brick by Brick: Building Hope and Opportunity for Women Survivors Everywhere

From my list on women driving change around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been driven to help advance women and girls around the world for years, shining a light on their stories of resilience and strength, even in the most dire of circumstances. My thirty-plus-year career in global development has introduced me to hundreds of inspirational women who are changing their own lives, investing in their families, and building their communities. I am a woman for women because of them. The recommended authors are inspirational women in their own right who have used their writing to amplify the voices of other women. I hope you enjoy these books and can identify with the personal stories found in their pages. 

Karen's book list on women driving change around the world

Karen Sherman Why did Karen love this book?

Mallory O’Meara’s book, Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol, has become my new bible.

I spent years working to advance women around the world before taking on a new challenge – starting a new craft distillery in Rwanda! You might be wondering how women's rights and alcohol intersect, but O’Meara sums it up best in her book: “If you want to know how a society treats its women, all you have to do is look into the bottom of a glass.”

For an amusing and eye-opening look at the history of women alcohol producers and drinkers around the world, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Girly Drinks. Best enjoyed with your favorite beverage in hand.

By Mallory O'Meara,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2022 James Beard Book Award

Nominated for the 2022 Spirited Awards

This is the forgotten history of women making, serving and drinking alcohol. Drink has always been at the centre of social rituals and cultures worldwide-and women have been at the heart of its production and consumption. So when did drinking become gendered? How have patriarchies tried to erase and exclude women from industries they've always led, and how have women fought back? And why are things from bars to whiskey considered 'masculine', when, without women, they might not exist?

With whip-smart insight and boundless curiosity, Girly…


Book cover of The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living

Hilary Sheinbaum Author Of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month

From my list on dry months and dry lifestyles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been completing Dry Januarys (and other sober months) since 2017! In turn, I’ve felt more energized, more positive, have experienced better sleep and better skin, among other benefits. I think giving up alcohol for any amount of time is beneficial and I encourage people to try it.

Hilary's book list on dry months and dry lifestyles

Hilary Sheinbaum Why did Hilary love this book?

This book is about a mom of three (and a former party girl) who started an anonymous blog about giving up alcohol. It documents her first year with hope and humor. It's great for anyone who is looking for a relatable read. It also comes highly recommended by a number of websites, reviews and readers, with a large fan base.

By Clare Pooley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

BY THE AUTHOR OF NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT, THE BRAVE AND FUNNY MEMOIR THAT IS CHANGING LIVES.

How one mother gave up drinking and started living. This is Bridget Jones Dries Out.

Clare Pooley is a Cambridge graduate and was a Managing Partner at one of the world's biggest advertising agencies, and yet by eighteen months ago she'd become an overweight, depressed, middle-aged mother of three who was drinking more than a bottle of wine a day, and spending her evenings Googling 'Am I an alcoholic?'

In a desperate bid to turn her life around, she quit…


Book cover of Dry: A Memoir

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor Author Of Drunk-ish: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving Alcohol

From my list on addiction books that will make you feel less alone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a memoir writer whose latest book, Drunk-ish, chronicles my experience getting sober. Before quitting drinking and after, I devoured all the "quit lit" books I could get my hands on despite not being entirely convinced I had an issue. I read to bond and identify with the authors, and the books I'm recommending are a few of my very favorites on the topic of addiction. On my podcast, "For Crying Out Loud," I often share about quitting drinking and addiction in general, and when I do, I find those are some of the most popular episodes. If you're sober, thinking about quitting, or even just like reading books about messed-up boozers, these books are for you.

Stefanie's book list on addiction books that will make you feel less alone

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor Why did Stefanie love this book?

This is one of my all-time favorite books about alcoholism because it’s hilarious. The title has a double meaning because the book is about the author’s attempt to stop drinking but also because Augusten’s humor is incredibly dry.

I found this book before I ever even entertained the notion that I, too, might have an issue with alcohol, and yet, I loved it. I’ve probably read this book at least 10 times, and it still makes me laugh despite the fact that it’s become all too real for me. 

By Augusten Burroughs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times Bestselling author of Running With Scissors comes the story of one man trying to out-drink his memories, outlast his demons, and outrun his past.

“I was addicted to “Bewitched” as a kid. I worshipped Darren Stevens the First. When he’d come home from work and Samantha would say, ‘Darren, would you like me to fix you a drink?’ He’d always rest his briefcase on the table below the mirror in the foyer, wipe his forehead with a monogrammed handkerchief and say, ‘Better make it a double.’” (from Chapter Two)

You may not know it, but…


Book cover of Baby, Mix Me a Drink

Elizabeth Marshall Author Of The Drinking Curriculum: A Cultural History of Childhood and Alcohol

From my list on alcohol and childhood between horror and humor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lover of champagne and popular culture and am fascinated with how humor can be used to confront taboo topics and subvert familiar orthodoxies. As a cultural critic, I study how visual artists challenge notions of childhood innocence by adding images of drinking and drunkenness to their adaptations of children’s texts and childish objects. Through these re-imaginings, we see how children’s culture is drinking culture. The most important lessons about alcohol and childhood in the drinking curriculum walk a fine line between humor and dread. My other books include Graphic Girlhoods: Visualizing Education and Violence and Witnessing Girlhood: Toward an Intersectional Tradition of Life Writing (with Leigh Gilmore).

Elizabeth's book list on alcohol and childhood between horror and humor

Elizabeth Marshall Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This book comes in the form of a small baby board book. On the back of this parody of a board book, the author asks “Are you a parent? Are you thirsty? Too many of us allow our infant sons and daughters to lay about idly napping, drinking milk, and sometimes ‘turning over.’ Why not have them mix you a cocktail? Thanks, Baby!”

Each page includes a mixology template for different members of the family. I particularly like the first recipe- a martini for mama. Additionally, like educational shape recognition texts that purportedly teach babies to organize visual information, Brown inserts easily recognizable liquor brands, Bombay Sapphire distilled London dry gin and Martini dry vermouth.

That the martini is the mother’s drink tickles the viewer to question whether gin is mother’s helper or mother’s ruin. Brown’s tongue-in-cheek board book foregrounds alcohol as pleasure and a baby that brings ease rather…

By Lisa Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baby, Mix Me a Drink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many people are parents, and many parents are thirsty. Yet too many parents allow their infant sons and daughters to lie about idly: napping, drinking milk, and whatnot. Why not put them to work? Observe how tots enjoy the shapes and colors, all the while learning how to mix a variety of basic cocktails. Thanks, Baby!


Book cover of Tales of Mean Streets

Mick Finlay Author Of Arrowood and the Thames Corpses

From my list on the lives of the poor in 19th century London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t know anything about Victorian history before I started writing the Arrowood books. The idea for the character of William Arrowood came as I was reading a Sherlock Holmes story. It occurred to me that if I was a private detective working in London at the same time, I’d probably be jealous, resentful, and perhaps a little bitter about his success and fame. That was the basis of Arrowood. I started to write a few pages and then realized I needed to learn a lot about the history. Since then, I’ve read hundreds of books on the topic, pored over newspapers in the British Library, and visited countless museums.

Mick's book list on the lives of the poor in 19th century London

Mick Finlay Why did Mick love this book?

This is another book written by a journalist. The stories in it are about the working class and destitute life in London at the end of the nineteenth century. Not only do they portray intimate relationships, prostitution, crime, and alcohol abuse, but they also give a sense of the life stories of the people who lived in these communities.

By Arthur Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Book cover of Fuchsia Parade: One Woman's Quest for Sex, Love and Redemption

Kim O'Hara Author Of No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making The Choices That Can Change Your Life

From my list on abuse survivors speaking candidly.

Why am I passionate about this?

Abuse as a buzzword is so broad and big. Our stories are so unique in how we were neglected, abused, abandoned, not seen, beaten, or sexually molested, but what also differs is what area of our lives it affects. For some of us, it's our bodies and food. For others of us, it's addiction to drugs and alcohol. And then there is promiscuity or sexual isolation. As a survivor myself, and having written a book that covers how denial was my go-to in my abuse history, I'm always fascinated by the human’s desire to persevere and be resilient. As a survivor, I want to be part of opening the conversation about abuse up louder.

Kim's book list on abuse survivors speaking candidly

Kim O'Hara Why did Kim love this book?

The fictional account of Kailee’s progression from risky promiscuity into recovery from abuse denial arrested me as Author Martin did not hold back in details. Kailee is successful and independent but her need to control men sexually to feel safe, while medicating herself with alcohol, prevents her from real intimacy. While books like Fifty Shade of Grey glorify sexuality and dominance, Fuchsia Parade unveils the truth behind an unquenchable sexuality, and a woman’s path to recovery. Any woman who is a survivor who aims to understand her sexual agenda will relate to Kailee’s redemption.

By Heather Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A riveting and fast paced story about one woman’s journey to save herself.

"An intriguing and powerful book. From the get-go, the author pulls the reader into the beautifully flawed life of the main character and takes the reader on a journey filled with sarcasm, sex, alcohol, success, truth, and healing. This book will be hard to put down and will leave you wanting more in the end." - Amazon Reviewer

“The type of central female character that great feminist novels are made of—complicated, flawed, badass, powerful, yet tender and compassionate upon further reveal through layers of story. Within the…


Book cover of A Father's Story

Jeri Fink Author Of Broken by Evil

From my list on psychopaths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a family therapist and author with a lot of experience in psychopathic behavior. Psychopathy falls on a spectrum – from a few traits to the extreme (serial killer) and everything in-between. Studies have shown that strong psychopathic behavior is common in our leaders – political, religious, business, and cultural. There’s also the psychopath “next door” – people we work, play, and live with. As an author, therapist, and researcher, I’m passionate about the subject – constantly examining psychopathic behaviors. I hope you enjoy my Broken Books Series which features different types of psychopaths in both the present and past, and my booklist that explores this fascinating subject.

Jeri's book list on psychopaths

Jeri Fink Why did Jeri love this book?

This is a true story that pulls you into a strange, painful reality. What is it like to be the father of one of America’s most notorious serial killers? Jeffrey Dahmer murdered 17 males. He lured them to his home, gave his victims drugs and alcohol, and strangled them to death. After he killed, Dahmer had sex with the corpses, dismembered them, and threw the remains away. Sometimes he kept souvenirs, skulls, or took photos. This gruesome story by Jeffrey’s father, Lionel, exposes Dad’s shock as he unravels the truth. It talks about the horror, grief, desperation, and struggle to embrace the reality of the child he still loves. Would you be able to forgive if it was your child?

By Lionel Dahmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Father's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Raising a Serial Killer

Father's Search for Answers

In July of 1991 the country was shocked by the unfathomable crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. But no one was more shocked than his parents. In A Father's Story, the reader is witness to the incremental unraveling of a parent's image of their child, and the "thousand different reactions" that follow. In his attempt to understand the nature of his son's psychosis, Lionel Dahmer methodically scrutinizes every possible contributing factor to his son's madness. His desperation is palpable as he searches for clues in the emotional, psychological, and genetic landscape of…


Book cover of Alcohol: A History

Erica Hannickel Author Of Empire of Vines: Wine Culture in America

From my list on the history of booze.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor at Northland College (WI) and an American environmental historian with specialties in wine, food, and horticulture. I mostly write on alcohol, garden history, botany, and orchids. The history of alcohol is wild, fraught, and charged with power—I’ll never tire of learning about it.

Erica's book list on the history of booze

Erica Hannickel Why did Erica love this book?

Alcohol is a highly readable, and useful, text on the cultural and material history of alcohol from ancient times through the modern-day. Phillips uses an international and comparative frame here to good effect—something not usually done in histories of alcohol. I also greatly appreciated his focus on colonial, ethnic, and racial histories around alcohol, as well as its regulation in different societies. Phillips makes a compelling argument against the idea that most earlier societies turned to alcohol because the water wasn't safe to drink (some did, but the assumption is far too widespread, he argues).

By Rod Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whether as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a constant and often controversial role in social life. In his innovative book on the attitudes toward and consumption of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and economic history, uncovering the tensions between alcoholic drinks as healthy staples of daily diets and as objects of social, political, and religious anxiety. In the urban centers of Europe and America, where it was seen as healthier than untreated water, alcohol gained a foothold as the drink of choice, but it has been more regulated by governmental and religious authorities more than any…


Book cover of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

Dustin Dunbar Author Of You're Doing Great!: And Other Lies Alcohol Told Me

From my list on Groundbreaking books on how to control alcohol.

Why am I passionate about this?

I vowed at a young age to never drink alcohol. I dove headfirst into psychology, earning a doctorate and I believed generational alcohol chains were broken. I became the "LA Shrink" and "Life Coach" on some pretty cool TV pilots! But life threw me a curveball, and after two decades of moderate, responsible drinking, I found myself addicted to alcohol. However, I cured it, and I've been passionately helping others do the same. I'm now a coach at WearetheAFR.org, an amazing nonprofit community dedicated to supporting individuals with alcohol addictions. My journey is filled with passion, resilience, and joy. I'm living proof that it's possible.

Dustin's book list on Groundbreaking books on how to control alcohol

Dustin Dunbar Why did Dustin love this book?

Gray’s vulnerability and raw honesty were guiding lights for me. Her real-life stories resonated deeply, infusing the journey to living alcohol free with hope, courage, and genuine understanding.

I feel like she is a heartfelt companion, and a testament to the joy and liberation found in not consuming ethanol. She inspired me so much, and I'm filled with enthusiasm for the transformative power it holds!

By Catherine Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Many people wonder if they can still have fun without alcohol... Gray tackles this misconception.' - The New York Times

'Gray's tale of going sober is uplifting and inspiring' - The Evening Standard

'An icon of the Quit Lit movement' - Conde Nast Traveller

'Fascinating' - Bryony Gordon

'Not remotely preachy' - The Times

'Jaunty, shrewd and convincing' - Sunday Telegraph

'Admirably honest, light, bubbly and remarkably rarely annoying' - Alice O'Keeffe, Guardian

'Truthful, modern and real' - Stylist

'Brave, witty and brilliantly written' - Marie Claire

'The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober came to me…