106 books directly related to Broadway musicals 📚

All 106 Broadway musical books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Act One: An Autobiography

Why this book?

While the prose style of Act One is a little fussy, florid, and overly eager to impress, this is still a moving, funny, and emotional biography of a talented, ambitious young man who is determined to make his mark as a Broadway playwright. And, at the end, when he single-handedly turns his out-of-town failure (co-written with George S. Kaufman) into a hit, you want to stand up and cheer.

Act One: An Autobiography

By Moss Hart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moss Hart's Act One, which Lincoln Center Theater presented in 2014 as a play written and directed by James Lapine, is one of the great American memoirs, a glorious memorial to a bygone age filled with all the wonder, drama, and heartbreak that surrounded Broadway in the early twentieth century. Hart's story inspired a generation of theatergoers, dramatists, and readers everywhere as he eloquently chronicled his impoverished childhood and his long, determined struggle to reach the opening night of his first Broadway hit. Act One is the quintessential American success story.

Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical

Why this book?

If you are looking for a highly opinionated and passionate account of the Broadway musical and the changes it has undergone over the decades, this book is for you. Grant does not pull his punches and the general tone is one of despair at the decline in the quality of musicals. But the book is well researched and offers many provocative ideas which the die-hard musical fan will find fascinating. It's the kind of work that you want to read after you have a solid knowledge of American musical theatre and you want to have your traditional ideas challenged.

The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical

By Mark Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award (2005)Many of today’s Broadway shows, from Rent to The Lion King, have become commercial hits, but do they have the cultural importance or the dramatic and musical artistry of such enduring productions as Oklahoma!, Show Boat, or Kiss Me, Kate? Mark N. Grant traces the transformation of singing and melody, libretto and lyric writing, dance rhythms, sound design, and choreography and stage direction through three distinct eras: the formative period (1866–1927), the golden age (1927–1966), and the fall (1967 to the present). He explores how and why the unsophisticated genre of pre-1927 musical comedy…

Book cover of How Musicals Work: And How to Write Your Own

Why this book?

Woolford describes his book as a prenatal guide for musicals and it is indeed just that. He breaks down the process from idea to opening night for a thorough examination of what goes into each part of writing a musical. From the tickle of inspiration—and everything that went into its construction after that point, including the steps back and sideways, trying to find the right formula for success—there isn’t much left out. Warning: You might be inspired to try your hand at writing once you finish this book! 

I felt as if I’d taken a college-level theatre course at the end of How Musicals Work, with an instructor who revels in the complicated chaos that is musicals! It opens up a whole extra level to watching/experiencing a musical.

How Musicals Work: And How to Write Your Own

By Julian Woolford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Musicals are the most popular form of stage entertainment today, with the West End and Broadway dominated by numerous long-running hits. But for every Wicked or Phantom of the Opera, there are dozens of casualties that didn't fare quite so well. In this book, Julian Woolford explores the musical-theatre canon to explain why and how some musicals work, why some don't, and what you should (and shouldn't) do if you're thinking of writing your own. Drawing on his experience as a successful writer and director of musicals, and as a lecturer in writing musicals at the University of London, Woolford…

Book cover of Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical

Why this book?

Full disclosure—Fiddler of the Roof is one of my favorite musicals of all time. I love the story, the music, the stage version, the movie, the various soundtracks…all of it. So it was an absolute pleasure to read this deep dive into the history of the show and understand the trials and tribulations that went into the journey to get it made.

Warning: This will incite you to listen to the soundtrack(s) and definitely want to watch the movie version (as of the writing of this piece, it was on Netflix!). You’ll be listening and watching with a new perspective of how Fiddler was an unexpected but well-earned hit.

Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical

By Barbara Isenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1960, Sheldon Harnick sent a copy of Sholom Aleichem's novel, Wandering Stars, to his long-time collaborator, Jerry Bock, suggesting it might make a good musical and Fiddler on the Roof was born. Barbara Isenberg interviewed the men and women who created the original production, the film and significant revivals - Harold Prince, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein, Austin Pendleton, Joanna Merlin, Norman Jewison, Topol, Jerry Zaks, Harvey Fierstein, etc. - to produce a lively, popular chronicle of the making of Fiddler. Published for the 50th anniversary of Fiddler's opening night on Broadway, Tradition! is the book for everyone who loves…

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

By Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert (illustrator)

Book cover of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Why this book?

New parents are likely to need a little practice reading aloud, especially to an unseen audience. A perfect choice for your first-time read-aloud experience is the whimsical rhyming alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. In a simple, catchy tempo it describes the antics of the personified letters of the alphabet—great fun to read aloud! This story has all the qualities that babies in utero respond to rhythm, repetition, and rhyme. Once baby arrives, this rousing, romping tale will have your little one wriggling and cooing to the familiar beat! 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

By Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......

You're Going to Survive

By Alexandra Franzen,

Book cover of You're Going to Survive

Why this book?

When I began teaching online I drowned in the world of success stories. Every Facebook ad made my progress feel small and insignificant. “Do people ever struggle when they’re growing their business?” I wondered. In her book, You’re Going to Survive Alex interviews her friends - business owners who share some of the most challenging times in their work and how they overcame it. It’s a book featuring real stories, real people, and real survival tips to keep you going despite the hurdles. Knowing that you’re not alone and that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel is what we all need when our journey gets tough.

You're Going to Survive

By Alexandra Franzen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You're Going to Survive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never Give Up!

"This book is your new best friend on a bad day." -Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate

"It's one thing to say 'never give up!' but it's another thing to actually live through the pain of rejection and disappointment that makes you question your work and your worth. When that happens, read this book. It will get you through." -Nicole Antoinette, host of Real Talk Radio

Life involves overcoming adversity. No matter what kind of career you've chosen, you're going to deal with discouragement, frustration, and situations that are, shall we say, "less than ideal." It…


Book cover of Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History

Why this book?

Everything that can wrong in live theatre happened to Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark—and on the biggest scale possible. How Glen Berger, the only non-rich and famous person on the creative team of The Lion King director Julie Taymor and U2 rockers Bono and The Edge, managed to tell all without being sued is a mystery. Maybe it’s because the fights, failures, and firings are all just another day at work on Broadway—as are the accidents. Every outrageous incident Berger relates I have personally experienced in the musicals I’ve written—from on Broadway to Off-Off-Broadway and around the globe. Reading Song of Spider-Man prepared me for the worst, from producers applying Mafia-style pressure to witnessing an actor plummet to the stage like a dead weight. 

Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History

By Glen Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Song of Spider-Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As you might imagine, writing a Broadway musical has its challenges. But it turns out there are challenges one can't begin to imagine when collaborating with two rock legends and a superstar director to stage the biggest, most expensive production in theatre history. Renowned director Julie Taymor picked playwright Glen Berger to co-write the book for a $25 million Spider-Man musical. Together-along with U2's Bono and Edge-they would shape a work that was technically daring and emotionally profound, with a story fuelled by the hero's quest for love...and the villains' quest for revenge. Or at least, that's what they'd hoped…

The City of Endless Night

By Milo Hastings,

Book cover of The City of Endless Night

Why this book?

Milo Hastings’s book, The City of Endless Night, written right after the end of WWI, foretells Germany’s eventual rise to power again. The book’s main character Lyman De Forrest takes us through a socially stratified underground Berlin, where 300,000,000 people live. In the lower strata, every aspect of life, including how much a person gets to eat each day (based on their weight), is controlled. Despite being more than 100 years old, this book is surprisingly modern and the food politics are just as relevant.

The City of Endless Night

By Milo Hastings,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Journal of the Institute for Hacks, Tomfoolery & Pranks at MIT

Why this book?

The Journal of IHTFP (look up that acronym!) is a delightful introduction to the original hacking scene at MIT, where hacks were elaborate, extremely clever student pranks—handing out colored cards at a Harvard-Yale football game to spell MIT rather than BEAT YALE when raised by eleven hundred Harvard fans, for example, or sneaking a power supply, multi-piece wooden frame, and the outer metal parts of a Chevrolet Cavalier atop the school’s Great Dome, so it appeared that the building was mounted by a real police cruiser, complete with flashing lights and boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts. The oversized book includes numerous photographs. Now out of print, it has been replaced by Nightwork by T. F. Peterson, which includes more recent hacks.

The Journal of the Institute for Hacks, Tomfoolery & Pranks at MIT

By Brian M. Leibowitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Journal of the Institute for Hacks, Tomfoolery & Pranks at MIT as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Good condition!

American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle

By Gerald Bordman, Richard Norton,

Book cover of American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle

Why this book?

This weighty reference book is not something to be read from cover to cover but, for browsing or looking up a plot or commentary on Broadway musicals, it is still the leader in its field. Bordman published his Chronicle in 1978 and he revised it up until his death, critic Richard Norton helping on the fourth edition. The coverage is impressive: musicals from the late 1700s up to 2010. The writing is concise and to the point. This book discusses shows you're not likely to find in any other book or website.

American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle

By Gerald Bordman, Richard Norton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hailed as "absolutely the best reference book on its subject" by Newsweek, American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle covers more than 250 years of musical theatre in the United States, from a 1735 South Carolina production of Flora, or Hob in the Well to The Addams Family in 2010. Authors Gerald Bordman and Richard Norton write an engaging narrative blending history, critical analysis, and lively description to illustrate the transformation of American musical
theatre through such incarnations as the ballad opera, revue, Golden Age musical, rock musical, Disney musical, and, with 2010's American Idiot, even the punk musical.

The Chronicle is…

Pamela's First Musical

By Wendy Wasserstein, Andrew Jackness (illustrator),

Book cover of Pamela's First Musical

Why this book?

An oldie, but goodie, Wendy Wasserstein’s Pamela’s First Musical follows the wide-eyed title character as she enjoys the experience of a lifetime: a trip with her Aunt Louise to see her first musical on the Great White Way. This book is written by one of Broadway’s great female playwrights, the late Wendy Wasserstein.

Pamela's First Musical

By Wendy Wasserstein, Andrew Jackness (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pamela's First Musical as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Pamela's ninth birthday, her Aunt Louise takes her to her first Broadway musical where she gets to meet the actors and staff who helped make it an award-winning show. Reprint.

Our House

By Louise Candlish,

Book cover of Our House

Why this book?

Gone Girl started the domestic suspense trend and showed us that suspense can be driven by family/household dynamics. Louise Candlish takes this to another level in Our House when the main character comes home to find another family moving into her house. She soon discovers that her husband has sold the house from under her feet and disappeared. This is a fantastic, slow-burn literary thriller with a great ending.

Our House

By Louise Candlish,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a bright morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they've just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it's your house. And you didn't sell it.
'If 2018 brings a better book than Our House I will eat my hat. Addictive, twisty and oh so terrifyingly possible' Clare Mackintosh, author of I See You

'Property-porn looks set to become a staple of crime fiction and Our House is an excellent example of this burgeoning subgenre. Husband and wife pass the narrative baton between them in this masterfully plotted, compulsive page-turner' Laura Wilson, Guardian…

Book cover of The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built

Why this book?

What? A scholarly book about Broadway to kick things off? Absolutely. If you think you know everything about musicals, Jack Viertel (a jack-of-all-trades with a career seeped in working in and around the stage) is here to take you a step deeper. From the evolution of what is “popular” and preferred, to the aspects that make a show into a hit, Viertel leads you through the decades of American musicals for a thorough education that is equal parts analysis and a shared love of the genre. The best part is that he loves Broadway as much as you do! He pulls the curtains aside to probe how this amazing world works, in an entertaining and informative way. 

One of my favorite books on the genre, and indispensable if you’ve moved beyond show scores and behind-the-scenes anecdotes (although he has those too!).

The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built

By Jack Viertel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Life of the American Musical as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller

For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical. It often begins in childhood in a darkened theater, grows into something more serious for high school actors, and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. Americans love musicals. Americans invented musicals. Americans perfected musicals. But what, exactly, is a musical?

In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together,…


Just William

By Richmal Crompton, Thomas Henry (illustrator),

Book cover of Just William

Why this book?

Set during the Second World War, these hilarious stories are about William, a young boy who has a very strong sense of himself. I identify with the scruffy, rebellious William. He’s always in trouble but has very passionate reasons for doing the things he does. The adult world baffles him, he’s the head of a gang that he leads, with his logic, into all kinds of scrapes. The world is unjust and he has to fit in with incomprehensible family values and oppose terrors like the vile and spoilt Violet Elizabeth Bott. I cheer for William against his older siblings and against the world that just doesn’t understand.

Just William

By Richmal Crompton, Thomas Henry (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A tousle-headed, snub-nosed, hearty, lovable ball of mischief, William Brown has been harassing his unfortunate family and delighting his hundreds of thousands of admirers since 1922.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition features original illustrations by Thomas Henry and a foreword by novelist, dramatist and screenwriter Roddy Doyle.

Just William is Richmal Crompton's first book about the incorrigible William Brown. Follow his adventures from getting over a school teacher crush…


The 39 Steps

By John Buchan,

Book cover of The 39 Steps

Why this book?

Buchan’s books are full of DIY heroes, men thrown into impossible situations but who manage to survive through their wits, a healthy dose of humor - and if necessary, with their fists. The book follows the hero Hannay, as he tries to escape German spies, first through England and then the wilderness of Scotland. The odds are stacked high against Hannay, but his bravura and strong will help him solve the mystery and dissolve the spy ring. Some of the views expressed in Buchan’s books are no longer politically correct and his works should always be understood in the context of his times, yet they make for very compelling reading.

The 39 Steps

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 39 Steps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Movie by Alfred Hitchcock, Licensed by ITV Global Entertainment Limited and an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon Characters: 3m, 1f Comedy WINNER! 2 Tony® and Drama Desk Awards, 2008 WINNER! BEST NEW COMEDY Laurence Olivier Award, 2007 The 39 Steps, is Broadway's longest running comedy, playing its 500th performance on Broadway, May 19th, 2009! Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced who

Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle,

Book cover of Better Nate Than Ever

Why this book?

You can’t help but root for thirteen-year-old social underdog and theater nerd Nate Foster as he sneaks away from his “boring” hometown of Jankburg, PA, and takes a bus to New York City to audition for the lead role in a Broadway production of E.T., the Musical. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, but Nate’s spunk, humor, and fearlessness somehow get him through his longshot adventure in the big city. Federle’s warm and vivid characterizations and witty writing style make this one a winner for the whole family. (One caveat: Parents bothered by gay themes in middle-grade books—even understated ones, as here—might want to skip this one. Your loss.) Followed by two more: Fix, Six, Seven, Nate! and Nate Expectations

Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Better Nate Than Ever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a Disney+ Original movie!

“The Nate series by Tim Federle is a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid. Highly recommended.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda, star and creator of the musical, Hamilton

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Slate Favorite Book of the Year

A small-town boy hops a bus to New York City to crash an audition for E.T.: The Musical in this winning middle grade novel that The New York Times called “inspired and inspiring.”

Nate Foster has big dreams. His…

Book cover of Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

Why this book?

I loved this story and how Suzy was willing to go the extra mile to make Christmas special for her friends. Suzy is a caring goose who would do anything to make the outside Christmas tree aglow with the brightest star in the sky. When she flies off hilltops and wanders far away from her friends, she doesn’t stay lost very long as her friend's onomatopoeia calls lead her back home, and Suzy discovers a special surprise on the tree. The book shows miracles do happen.

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

By Horacek Petr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Suzy, the silly goose with a mind of her own, returns in a brand new read-aloud Christmas picture book.

When Suzy Goose decides that the Christmas tree is missing a star, she sets off on a journey to fetch the shiny star in the sky. No matter how far she travels, she never reaches it. But when she finds herself back at the tree, everyone has a beautiful Christmas surprise!


Book cover of Josh: My Up and Down, In and Out Life

Why this book?

The cover of this biography is J-O-S-H spelled out in huge theatrical lights—and Logan really was a Broadway legend as a director/producer/writer.  The book chronicles his successes and failures, and he analyzes each show he worked on with an unsentimental and critical eye. He astutely argues for what audiences want to see, and what they reject. Particularly compelling are his personal portraits of Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Josh: My Up and Down, In and Out Life

By Joshua Logan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Well kept and the book is in great shape to read and collect. Sturdy spine, all pages intact. Solid cover.

Moonfleet

By John Meade Falkner,

Book cover of Moonfleet

Why this book?

Moonfleet is a fictional tale of life on the high seas. Starting out as a boy, the main character takes on a life where he constantly grows and learns through his dangerous interactions with smugglers. The book is filled with stories of different adventures and challenges and it will keep you engrossed all the way through. This is one of the best books of its kind that I have read.

Moonfleet

By John Meade Falkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moonfleet 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 The Tale of the Body Thief

Why this book?

My teen years were spent in the early 2000s, so Anne Rice was the OG to me for urban fantasy. Tale of the Body Thief is my favorite story of hers. Like my novel and current city, it also takes place in DC (Georgetown!) and I love retracing Lestat’s footsteps through the novel as he visited notable places like Martin’s Tavern. The plot focuses on Lestat body-switching with a human who ends up stealing the vampire’s body. If you’ve seen Interview With the Vampire, you don’t really need to have read the other books in the series to read this one. For me, I love that it’s a fun literary ride with familiar characters and setting. 

The Tale of the Body Thief

By Anne Rice,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tale of the Body Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Rice is our modern messenger of the occult, whose nicely updated dark-side passion plays twist and turn in true Gothic form.”—San Francisco Chronicle

In a gripping feat of storytelling, Anne Rice continues the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles that began with the now-classic Interview with the Vampire. For centuries, Lestat—vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals—has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the living dead. Now he is alone. And in his overwhelming need to destroy his doubts and his loneliness, Lestat embarks on the most dangerous enterprise he has undertaken in all the years of his haunted existence.…

Faceless Killers: A Mystery

By Henning Mankell,

Book cover of Faceless Killers: A Mystery

Why this book?

I had hoped to avoid authors with a prodigious output in this listing, but those author’s characters cannot be missed—Mankell’s Wallander actually carries this novel. The thing that struck me first was how textured the character of Wallander is, and how Mankell fully employs every bit of his backstory. Of course, as before, the cliché of the flawed lead: divorced, few friends, moody, a fondness for drink, and obsessive behaviour, is one which would (too easily) fit Wallander, but not in Mankell’s hands. He takes all these traits and gives the reader an understanding of his lead. On top of that, Mankell uses Wallander for his own observations on Swedish society! For writers Wallander is a study; for readers a joy.

Faceless Killers: A Mystery

By Henning Mankell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A #1 international bestseller: This “exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth” launched the acclaimed Wallander Mysteries and BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh (Los Angeles Times).
 
Early one morning, a small-town farmer discovers that his neighbors have been victims of a brutal attack during the night: An old man has been bludgeoned to death, and his tortured wife lies dying before the farmer’s eyes. The only clue is the single word she utters before she dies: “foreign.”
 
In charge of the investigation is Inspector Kurt Wallander, a local detective whose personal life is in a shambles. His family is falling apart, he’s…

Where the Truth Lies

By Rupert Holmes,

Book cover of Where the Truth Lies

Why this book?

Set in the seventies, a sexy female celebrity journalist sets out to find the reason for the break-up of a singing/comedy duo alá Lewis and Martin and uncovers a gruesome murder. Full of sex, drugs, and behind-the-scenes entertainment business debauchery, this story is told in a masterful way that is funny, frightful, suspenseful, and disturbing. A truly unique noir tale where no one comes away clean. Just how I like it. And written by my good friend and former employer, Rupert Holmes. The same guy that gave us “Escape, The Pina Colada Song” and the Broadway hit The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Where the Truth Lies

By Rupert Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Truth Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

O’Connor, a vivacious, free-spirited young journalist known for her penetrating celebrity interviews, is bent on unearthing secrets long ago buried by the handsome showbiz team of singer Vince Collins and comic Lanny Morris. These two highly desirable men, once inseparable (and insatiable, where women were concerned), were driven apart by a bizarre and unexplained death in which one of them may have played the part of murderer. As the tart-tongued, eye-catching O’Connor ventures deeper into this unsolved mystery, she finds herself compromisingly coiled around both men, knowing more about them than they realize and less…

The Jaws Log

By Carl Gottlieb,

Book cover of The Jaws Log

Why this book?

In my book club I’m known as Second Carl, since Carl Gottlieb has been a member far longer than I. In fact, I was still a lawyer in Washington, D.C. secretly dreaming about Hollywood but never suspecting I’d someday myself work on a Spielberg TV series, when I read this short, fast, now revered account of the filming of Spielberg’s breakout film. It proved to be a deeply accurate and comprehensive description – and warning – about what life and work on location and in Hollywood itself would be like. It’s also so engagingly readable and relevant, a Broadway musical based on the book is in tryouts as I write these words.

The Jaws Log

By Carl Gottlieb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of 3 Oscars [registered] and the highest grossing film of its time, "Jaws" was a phenomenon, and this is the only book on how 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley's best-selling novel into the classic film it became. Hired by Spielberg as a screenwriter to work with him on the set while the movie was being made, Carl Gottlieb, and actor and writer, was there throughout the production that starred Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss. After filming was over, with Spielberg's cooperation, Gottlieb chronicled the extraordinary year-long adventure in "The Jaws Log", which was first published in…

Book cover of The World of Musical Comedy

Why this book?

An early and still one of the best works on the subject, Green's The World of Musical Comedy is the book that introduced generations of musical theatre fans to the art form. It was first published in 1960 and that first edition was my first encounter with the great songwriters and musicals of the American theatre. Green later revised and updated the book and the fourth edition stops at 1980 but the book remains in print. I still recommend it as the best way to discover the classic works in the world of musicals.

The World of Musical Comedy

By Stanley Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acclaimed through three editions for its uniquely informative and entertaining style, this fourth edition of Stanley Green's World of Musical Comedy updates and enlarges the theatrical scope to include such recent shows as A Chorus Line, Barnum, They're Playing Our Song , and Annie . In a format that provides biographies of all the leading figures in the musical's development, Stanley Green manages to convey the spirit of the Broadway stage, its musical make-believe, and yet remain objective about the creative swings in its history and the careers of its individual creators. Everyone is here: Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, Jerome…

Lulu the Broadway Mouse

By Jenna Gavigan,

Book cover of Lulu the Broadway Mouse

Why this book?

For slightly older kids in the 8-12 age range, this chapter book (one in The Broadway Mouse series) follows a little mouse named Lulu with big dreams of starring on Broadway. This book will inspire young people to further investigate the magic of theatre.

Lulu the Broadway Mouse

By Jenna Gavigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lulu the Broadway Mouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway's Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn't be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She's a little girl mouse.

When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne's guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently…


Headlong

By Michael Frayn,

Book cover of Headlong

Why this book?

This is a book I buy every time I see it in order to give it away. It’s one of my favourite novels and one I re-read every couple of years. It’s about a man who thinks his rich neighbour owns a Brueghel (a missing panel from the “Seasons” series) and his plans to steal it. It captures the nature of art obsession, and of that desire in all of us to discover something new, be it a hidden masterpiece, the solution to a long-unsolved crime, or perhaps a first edition book on our shelves. It’s funny, educational, entrancing and now I have to go and read it again.

Headlong

By Michael Frayn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Headlong begins when Martin Clay, a young would-be art historian, believes he has discovered a missing masterpiece. The owner of the painting is oblivious to its potential and asks Martin to help him sell it, leaving Martin with the chance of a lifetime: if he could only separate the painter from its owner, he would be able to perform a great public service, to make his professional reputation, perhaps even rather a lot of money as well. But is the painting really what Martin believes it to be? As Martin is drawn further into…

Book cover of It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business

Why this book?

Rejection is a big part of the writer’s life (less so now that self-publishing has taken off, but it still rears its ugly head more times than you might expect).

Actors know all about rejection and the late Charles Grodin had more than his share. While this is technically a memoir, it’s also a handbook on how to deal with and process all the forms of rejection you might encounter on your journey. As an additional incentive to read it, please know that Charles Grodin is a terrific writer and a funny, funny man. You’ll learn while you laugh.

It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business

By Charles Grodin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is an actor's autobiography that transcends genre. Grodin writes about his share of catastrophic setbacks with candor and liberating humor. He dispenses invaluable advice about the art of surviving in the celluloid jungle. Photos.

Book cover of Revealing Illustrations: The Art of James McMullan

Why this book?

James McMullan is one of America’s preeminent illustrators, working consistently from the 60s to today. He may be most familiar for his long series of posters for Broadway shows at Lincoln Center, but he has also done magazine illustrations, children's books, record covers, and animation. Running parallel to his illustration work has been a long career in teaching, principally at New York’s School of Visual Arts (for which he also has done a series of subway posters). I was privileged to take his SVA illustration course– which had a stringent portfolio review – for two years early in my career, about the time this book appeared. No collection of greatest hits, or even a guide to achieving McMullan’s juicy watercolor style, this is a thoroughly candid tour through an illustrator’s work process, including a generous selection of preliminary sketches and reference photos.

Like many of the students who passed through his course, I worked in a McMullanoid watercolor style for a few years. The style I was eventually able to shed, but the method outlined in this book is one I continue to follow.

Revealing Illustrations: The Art of James McMullan

By James McMullan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

signed hardback book with dust jacket titled REVEALING ILLUSTRATIONS.

The Wolves in the Walls

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Book cover of The Wolves in the Walls

Why this book?

This is my all-time favorite book! It’s odd, quirky, and unpredictable. While not technically monsters, the wolves are terrifying…at first. You feel the helplessness of the characters, but rest assured, you cheer when they get a handle on the situation. This is a one-of-a-kind story that you’ll want to share with your entire family.

The Wolves in the Walls

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wolves in the Walls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Gaiman does here for the older picture-book set what he did for middle-grade readers with Coraline." —Kirkus (starred review)

Lucy is sure there are wolves living in the walls of their house—and, as everybody says, if the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over. Her family doesn't believe her. Then one day, the wolves come out.

But it's not all over. Instead, Lucy's battle with the wolves is only just beginning.

There are sneaking, creeping, crumpling noises coming from inside the walls...

This New York Times Best Illustrated Book combines a deliciously creepy tale, a strong heroine, and…


A Life

By Elia Kazan,

Book cover of A Life

Why this book?

Okay, it’s more of an autobiography than a memoir, but Kazan’s 826-page volcano is the most explosive and mesmerizing show-business book I’ve ever plunged into. From his salad days as a struggling actor with New York’s Group Theatre to his conquest of Broadway as the hottest, most pugnacious stage director of the mid-20th century (Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), to his Oscar-winning films (Streetcar, Gentleman’s Agreement, On the Waterfront), Kazan vividly recounts his triumphs, missteps and misdeeds, his mistreatment of his wife and many lovers, and his betrayal of former friends and comrades, in a voice overflowing with self-laceration and self-justification. With a supporting cast that includes Tennessee Williams, Vivien Leigh, Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, and James Dean.

A Life

By Elia Kazan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elia Kazan's varied life and career is related here in his autobiography. He reveals his working relationships with his many collabourators, including Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, James Dean, John Steinbeck and Darryl Zanuck, and describes his directing "style" as he sees it, in terms of position, movement, pace, rhythm and his own limitations. Kazan also retraces his own decision to inform for the House Un-American Activities Committee, illuminating much of what may be obscured in McCarthy literature.

My Name Is Lucy Barton

By Elizabeth Strout,

Book cover of My Name Is Lucy Barton

Why this book?

Sometimes a mother fails. In My Name is Lucy Barton, the title character fled her home because of her abusive father. Although her mother loved Lucy and her siblings, she was unable to protect her children. Many years later when Lucy falls ill and her mother visits her, the two reconnect and develop a shared understanding. Strout addresses the imperfection of a mother while retaining the magnetic pull between mother and daughter. 

My Name Is Lucy Barton

By Elizabeth Strout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Name Is Lucy Barton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016 AND THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016. A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.

An exquisite story of mothers and daughters from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge

Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed. They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her…

Book cover of Amadeus: A Play by Peter Shaffer

Why this book?

“What the American public wants in the theater is a tragedy with a happy ending.”

- William Dean Howell

Not so much the British public, I guess. Years ago, I found this play in the remainder bin of a book store and bought it because I’d enjoyed Sleuth, not realizing there were two Schaffer brother playwrights…who, it turns out, had a major sibling rivalry thing going on. The movie was remarkable but the play really drives home Salieri’s fury at God. Resilience, it turns out can be effectively weaponized: especially when you’re the director of the Italian opera, a court-savvy sneak, and a jealous sidewinder. First on his “to do” list? Seduce Mozart’s wife… But by thoroughly destroying Wolfi, Salieri loses his humanity in the process. There’s always a snag.

Amadeus: A Play by Peter Shaffer

By Peter Shaffer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

0riginating at the National Theatre of Great Britain, Amadeus was the recipient of both the Evening Standard Drama Award and the Theatre Critics Award. In the United States, the play won the coveted Tony Award and went on to become a critically acclaimed major motion picture winning eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

Now, this extraordinary work about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is available with a new preface by Peter Shaffer and a new introduction by the director of the 1998 Broadway revival, Sir Peter Hall. Amadeus is a must-have for classical music buffs, theatre lovers, and aficionados of…


Book cover of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Why this book?

It might seem pompous and affected to recommend this masterpiece by one of the greatest deities in the literary pantheon (who’s no stranger to accusations of pompousness and affectation himself…)—especially when it’s not immediately clear who’s on the other side of Isabel Archer’s “will they or won’t they?” story. Is it the competent, hardworking Caspar Goodwood? The aristocratic, lovelorn Lord Warburton? Her kind, ailing benefactor Ralph Touchett? Or the uncaring art collector Gilbert Osmond? It is evidence of Henry James’ genius that I felt, at the end of the novel, that I had encountered every one of these characters at some point in my life (occasionally in myself)—and his brilliant heroine became the unhearing recipient of all the advice I’ve ever needed to give myself on how to choose a partner.

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

By Henry James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The talented and beautiful Isabel Archer, courted by several suitors and enriched by her dying uncle, chooses to marry the cold and ambitious Gilbert Osmond. The heroine soon discovers to her cost that freedom of choice is never what it seems.

The Twilight Zone Companion

By Marc Scott Zicree,

Book cover of The Twilight Zone Companion

Why this book?

I remember the moment I walked into a bookstore and saw this book sitting face out on the shelf and thought; “Wait, they make books about every episode of a TV show?” Not just that but for the show that to this day I maintain was the greatest TV show ever made: The Twilight Zone. Marc Scott Zicree’s book was my beginner’s guide into the making of a TV production with an emphasis on my greatest love: the writers. From the day I bought this, I never sat down to watch the show again without it beside me for reference. My copy is worn and tattered but eternally loved. This was the book that made me want to work for and write about television.

The Twilight Zone Companion

By Marc Scott Zicree,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Twilight Zone Companion is the complete show-by-show guide to one of television's greatest series. Zicree's well-written account is fascinating reading for even the casual fan. Coverage of each episode includes a plot synopsis, Rod Serling's opening narration, behind-the-scenes stories from the original artists who created the series, and a complete list of cast and credits.

Book cover of The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

Why this book?

This is Anatole France’s first novel: a curious two-part story about two “crimes”—the first not selling valuable books which were intended to pay for the dowry of his daughter/granddaughter (depending on which edition you read); the second rescuing his daughter/granddaughter from an abusive guardian. Apart from the wonderful style of writing, I found the curious detachment of the protagonist, detailed in diary form, unusual and oddly compelling.

The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

By Anatole France,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard 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 Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been

Why this book?

This is one of the best collections I’ve ever read, and I’ve read it a few times now. These are emotionally intimate stories, bleak but beautiful. Dines really knows how to write convincing, troubled characters, people you will care about and suffer with as they struggle with the losses life forces upon them, and while each of the stories stands alone, there are connections between many of them which serves to build on your relationship with these characters. This is a debut collection, but every story has clearly been written by someone who has mastered their craft. Dines knows exactly what he’s doing, and what he’s doing is making you care, making you feel, and making you realise you are not alone. I love this book.

Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been

By Steven J. Dines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Look Where You Are Going Not Where You Have Been as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past is never far behind. If we do not leave it, if we insist on carrying it with us to the end...that end is a monster.

This stunning debut collection of dark, literary fiction drowns the reader in its themes of grief, regret, love, and hope.

A family is torn apart by tragedy and misadventure, their future creaking under the weight of judgment. Old men play at being ghosts while a young boy sees real ones wherever he turns. A wandering immortal desperately seeks an end to his pain.

Intimate, unflinching, and poignant, these eleven tales of the broken…


The Good House

By Tananarive Due,

Book cover of The Good House

Why this book?

I’m a sucker for an addictive, epic horror novel, and Tananarive Due delivers with this book. Angela Toussaint inherits her late grandmother Marie’s old house (the “good house” of the title) and returns to her hometown of Sacajawea, WA. At first, she seems content there even if a few of the townspeople have a way of reminding her she’s the only Black woman in town. But after a tragedy shatters Angela’s life and horrific deaths become a regular occurrence in the town, it becomes clear her Gramma Marie passed down far more than the house. Due’s prose is so vivid that at times I felt like I was inside Angela’s head, or walking around the Good House myself. This is the perfect scary book to lose yourself in on a rainy fall day. 

The Good House

By Tananarive Due,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Good House is the critically acclaimed story of supernatural suspense, as a woman searches for the inherited power that can save her hometown from evil forces.

The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint's late grandmother is so beloved that the townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors, and the Toussaint's family history-and future-is dramatically transformed.

Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to…

The Marquess is Mine

By Tamara Gill,

Book cover of The Marquess is Mine

Why this book?

I have a super soft spot for ‘second chance’ romances. Here, our heroine’s long-broken heart skips several beats on being confronted by the dashingly handsome culprit at a Christmas Ball. Having forsaken the only woman he has ever loved, our hero has just one chance to make amends. How will he regain her trust, persuading her that he’ll never again let her down? You’ll be rooting for them both to find the happiness they deserve. 

The Marquess is Mine

By Tamara Gill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She’ll never let anyone break her heart. Not again, anyway…

Lady Sarah Farley has learned many of life’s lessons the hard way. She now knows the ton will viciously turn on anyone, anytime. And love? That only brings devastation. But when a particularly handsome ghost from her past re-emerges, she can’t help but wonder if life is about to teach her poor wounded heart yet another painful, unwanted lesson.

Lord Giles Longe, Marques Gordan, never wanted to hurt Sarah. But he couldn’t have married her back then. His father wouldn’t have allowed it. Everything is different now, though. He will…

Book cover of Short Stories: Five Decades

Why this book?

Like Cheever, Shaw was a fellow New Yorker contributor but his work is grittier than Cheever’s and was best summed up in The New York Times: “[Shaw] has a primitive skill possessed by very few sophisticated men.” Winner of two O. Henry awards, I would say he is the “meat and potatoes” short story master - but it’s Prime USDA.

Short Stories: Five Decades

By Irwin Shaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Featuring sixty-three stories spanning five decades, this superb collection-including "Girls in Their Summer Dresses," "Sailor Off the Bremen," and "The Eighty-Yard Run"-clearly illustrates why Shaw is considered one of America's finest short-story writers.

Book cover of Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops

Why this book?

Musical theatre fans delight in reading about the famous and not-so-famous disasters in the genre. Mandelbaum covers nearly 200 of these musical flops that opened (and often quickly closed) on Broadway between 1950 and 1990. It is a lively read, well researched, and has plenty of "what were they thinking?" attitude. Not much copy is given to one musical (except the title musical Carrie) but the coverage is comprehensive. A favorite among musical theatre fans, Not Since Carrie was the inspiration for Mark Robinson and myself when we continued Mandelbaum's chronicle with our own Musical Misfires.

Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops

By Ken Mandelbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not Since Carrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Not Since Carrie is Ken Mandelbaum's brilliant survey of Broadway's biggest flops. This highly readable and entertaining book highlights almost 200 musicals created between 1950 and 1990, framed around the notorious musical adaptation of Carrie, and examines the reasons for their failure. "Essential and hilarious," raves The New Yorker, and The New York Times calls the book "A must-read."


Book cover of Siblings: You're Stuck with Each Other, So Stick Together

Why this book?

This was one of the first books targeting not preschoolers adjusting to a new baby but older kids struggling to get along. It is perfectly pitched to middle-grade readers, with just the right balance of direct talk and humor. The book normalizes sibling conflict while providing solutions 8-13-year-olds can implement on their own or with the help of a parent. Written in 2010, this book stands the test of time.

Siblings: You're Stuck with Each Other, So Stick Together

By James J. Crist, Elizabeth Verdick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Humorous yet practical advice for building positive sibling relationships. Turn sibling rivalry into positive sibling relationships with this fun, humorous pocket guide for kids. Siblings can make for great friends, and it s nice to have someone who ll love you no matter what. But kids know that sibling relationships can be hard when problems of fairness, jealousy, conflict, tattling, privacy, and other things come up and they usually do. Siblings teaches kids how to deal with sibling rivalry and more, including special situations such as siblings with special needs, step-siblings, and adopted siblings, and it focuses on building positive…

Book cover of Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway

Why this book?

The true-life story of the ’70s and ’80s in New York City and the world of theatre—when the Great White Way was basically slated to become a parking lot—as it is saved by a colorful host of characters (and a boardroom coup!) is just begging for a musical of its own. Until that happens, we will have to be content with this page-turning book from a saucy and witty theatre columnist, which chronicles the entire amazing ride of how Broadway was reborn. 

Along the way, we get a thorough probing of Broadway history and the highs, lows, and everything in between including some scandal, gossip, and shocking reveals. See? How is this not a musical already?! Riedel is a dramatic and verbose writer who holds back nothing, thankfully. Recommendation: Don’t expect to be using a bookmark too often. I couldn’t put this book down.

Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway

By Michael Riedel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A vivid page-turner" (NPR) detailing the rise, fall, and redemption of Broadway-its stars, its biggest shows, its producers, and all the drama, intrigue, and power plays that happened behind the scenes.

"A rich, lovely, debut history of New York theater in the 1970s and eighties" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Razzle Dazzle is a narrative account of the people and the money and the power that turned New York's gritty back alleys and sex-shops into the glitzy, dazzling Great White Way.

In the mid-1970s Times Square was the seedy symbol of New York's economic decline. Its once shining star, the renowned…

Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll

By Harve Zemach, Margot Zemach,

Book cover of Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll

Why this book?

“Mommy, buy me a China Doll, Do, Mommy Do,” but, “What could I buy it with, Eliza Lou?” Eliza Lou has many suggestions…trade our Daddy’s feather bed…"Then where would Daddy sleep”…He could sleep in the horsey’s bed. “Then where would horsey sleep”…and on and on until Eliza ends up asleep herself…on Mommy’s lap. A soothing lullaby with or without the evocative illustrations by the Zemach team.   

Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll

By Harve Zemach, Margot Zemach,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When Mommy wonders how to get a china doll for Eliza Lou, Eliza suggests they trade Daddy's featherbed...The ridiculous swapping of sleeping places is aptly portrayed in strong, boldly drawn, colored illustrations which underline the humor and folk quality of the lilting cumulative verses. A deliciously funny picture book for small children."-Booklist

The Magical Imperfect

By Chris Baron,

Book cover of The Magical Imperfect

Why this book?

The main character in The Magical Imperfect has selective mutism. This is a clever idea for a main character written in verse because, typically, there’s little dialogue in the form. What really stood out to me, though, is the climax of the story that takes place during an earthquake. Baron cleverly uses time stamps and white space in a striking way to help create story tension and layer meaning during this exciting and scary twenty-page multi-poem scene.

The Magical Imperfect

By Chris Baron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For fans of Wonder, Chris Baron's The Magical Imperfect is an affecting middle grade story of two outcasts who become friends…

Etan has stopped speaking since his mother left. His father and grandfather don’t know how to help him. His friends have given up on him.

When Etan is asked to deliver a grocery order to the outskirts of town, he realizes he’s at the home of Malia Agbayani, also known as the Creature. Malia stopped going to school when her acute eczema spread to her face, and the bullying became too much.

As the two become friends, other kids…


Bricktown Boys

By Pete Fanning,

Book cover of Bricktown Boys

Why this book?

Bricktown Boys is a story of a family in crisis from a boy’s point of view. Thirteen-year-old Sam Beasley lives with his dysfunctional mother, her abusive boyfriend, and drugs. He assumes the role of his mother’s protector and will do anything to save her from herself which is near impossible. Fanning gives us a counterpoint to Sam’s mother in Mrs. Coleman, the bible quoting, grammar stickler widow on his street. Mrs. Coleman is full of spirit and kindness, but also has a no-nonsense approach which Sam gravitates to. She is his rock in an upside-down world. This book has wonderful street-wise dialogue and a fascinating group of diverse characters.

Bricktown Boys

By Pete Fanning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Winner of the 2021 Indies Today Best Juvenile Book Award*
 
It's 1987 and twelve-year-old Sam Beasley only wants two things: to play football and for his mother to stop dating losers. Only there's no money for a football team in Bricktown, while there's an endless supply of losers for his mother to bring home.

Sam finds a friend in the elderly widow down the street. While he's careful not to let on about his crummy home life, Mrs. Coleman always seems to know when he needs to do wash or eat a hot meal. When he mentions his football dilemma,…

Days of Wine and Roses

By J.P. Miller,

Book cover of Days of Wine and Roses

Why this book?

The most valuable lesson I received is that sometimes you have to let loved ones make bad choices. There’s nothing you can do beyond prayer and hope.

This book and the movie portray the good in people who do bad or stupid things. You end up loving the characters no matter how bad their choices. Sadly, many can relate to the story through family, friends, or even themself. The characters are believable and I would wager the author based the story on real life. It’s also an excellent book for anyone needing an introduction to recovery programs like Alanon, ACOA, or Alcoholics Anonymous. The story’s message is important: You have to be willing to change and trust in a power higher than yourself.

Days of Wine and Roses

By J.P. Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Miller, J. P

Book cover of The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

Why this book?

I read this novel written well before the present focus on psychopathy. It’s simple but bone-chilling. The book came out in 1954 and became an instant best-seller, leading to more books, stage shows, and films. Rhoda Penmark is eight years old with braids and the image of sweet young innocence. Yet strange things follow her – bad events, terrible accidents in the neighborhood, and frightened people. March shows the true nature of a psychopath in childhood, giving the reader a peek into what and how these “monster” children grow up. 

The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

By William March,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel that inspired Mervyn LeRoy’s classic horror film about the little girl who can get away with anything—even murder.
 
There’s something special about eight-year-old Rhoda Penmark. With her carefully plaited hair and her sweet cotton dresses, she’s the very picture of old-fashioned innocence. But when their neighborhood suffers a series of terrible accidents, her mother begins to wonder: Why do bad things seem to happen when little Rhoda is around?
 
Originally published in 1954, William March’s final novel was an instant bestseller and National Book Award finalist before it was adapted for the stage and made into a…

Getting Out

By Afton Brinkman,

Book cover of Getting Out

Why this book?

I chose this title because it’s the first story that made me fall in love with this genre. There is a deep sense of authenticity stemming from the reality of finding love after abuse. It helps the reader understand the true emotions of someone navigating through life after years of childhood abuse and trauma. Afton’s writing creates a beautiful story from beginning to end, while bringing the reader on an emotional roller coaster at the same time. This story left an impact on my heart and greatly influenced my writing as an author. 

Getting Out

By Afton Brinkman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The saying "You got handed the short end of the stick" didn't even apply, I'd never even seen the stick, let alone the short end. Ashton Becker has lived her entire life being trapped in a nightmare she can't wake up from. For as long as she can remember her parents have abused her both physically and mentally. She knows there has to be more to life than this and she finds it when she gets accepted to boarding school hundreds of miles away from everything she has ever known. She jumps at the opportunity to finally get out? Charlie…

The Show Girl

By Nicola Harrison,

Book cover of The Show Girl

Why this book?

The Show Girl is a delicious and entertaining exploration of the life of a 1920s Ziegfield girl with authentic period details and Harrison’s trademark ability to plunge the reader deep into the experiences of her characters. I loved being along for the ride as Olive navigated her relationships and friendships, followed her dreams, and pursued the glamorous life—with all its attendant ups and downs—of a show girl. The Show Girl is a fast-paced and engaging read that will leave readers giving a standing ovation to Olive and to all women who choose to live life on their own terms.

The Show Girl

By Nicola Harrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's 1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more-even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy-the only man she's ever met who seems to accept her modern ways-her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage…

All by Myself

By Mercer Mayer,

Book cover of All by Myself

Why this book?

I recommend this children's book because it empowers kids to do most of their daily tasks on their own. I wish I had read this book growing up. It would have motivated the young me to not see myself as incapable of doing big household tasks such as gardening.

All by Myself

By Mercer Mayer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter wants to show you all the things he can do for himself in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether he’s tying his shoes, coloring a picture, or riding his bike, both parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A perfect way to teach children about independence!

Book cover of Hangfire: An Eddie Holland Novel

Why this book?

What makes Hangire such a great ass-kicking novel is that it’s clear the author knows guns and gunfight strategy. The action is crisp, but aggressively realistic. Tension never ceases—if it’s not shooting up bad guys, it’s with a dash of romance or a smidge of mystery. The writing is confident and action-packed. Even the title, am I right? 

Hangfire: An Eddie Holland Novel

By John H. Matthews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eddie Holland is back. The former FBI agent turned private detective in Austin, Texas, returns for another fast paced mystery. Following on the heels of The South Coast and Ballyvaughan, Hangfire keeps you guessing until the very end. Clem Akins has gone missing, but not before sending a cryptic text message to Eddie. With little to go on, Eddie and Gus go looking for him, only to find the trail leads them to uncover a group of former Army soldiers on the run or in hiding, afraid of their treasonous pasts catching up to them.HANGFIRE is the third novel in…

Book cover of Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

Why this book?

As a teacher of History and Musicals at NYU, I’ve seen how theatre students are most interested in the shows they know, which typically means those produced in their lifetime. So I try to meet them where they are and then journey backwards into the past. While Singular Sensation moves forward in time from the 1990s, it shows how the Broadway we know today came to be. And who could resist reading about Patti LuPone throwing a floor lamp out her dressing room window when Andrew Lloyd Webber fired her from Sunset Boulevard? So I hope you’ll come back for more and read Riedel’s equally dishy yet informative Razzle Dazzle, which is about Broadway in the 1970s, when someone could mug you at knifepoint in broad daylight on 42nd Street (and, in my case, did).

Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway

By Michael Riedel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary story of a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers-shows that changed the history of the American theater.



The 1990s was a decade of profound change on Broadway. At the dawn of the nineties, the British invasion of Broadway was in full swing, as musical spectacles like Les Miserables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera dominated the box office. But Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard soon spelled the end of this era and ushered in a new wave of American musicals,…

Trouble in Mind

By Alice Childress,

Book cover of Trouble in Mind

Why this book?

Like Hamlet says, “The play’s the thing,” so any reading list for theater people should include the reason we’re here in the first place. Alice Childress’s indictment of the degrading condescension inflicted on Black people in the theater by self-proclaimed white allies is as true today as when she wrote it in 1955. That makes me sad and angry, as does the fact it took 66 years for it to finally be produced on Broadway. But it also gives me hope when high-quality work gets recognized. And as a writer who finds the funny in any situation, I love how Childress serves up bitter pills of truth in spoonfuls of honeyed laughs. 

Trouble in Mind

By Alice Childress,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A masterpiece . . . Trouble in Mind still contains astonishing power; it could have been written yesterday.” —Vulture

Ahead of its time, Trouble in Mind, written in 1955, follows the rehearsal process of an anti-lynching play preparing for its Broadway debut. When Wiletta, a Black actress and veteran of the stage, challenges the play’s stereotypical portrayal of the Black characters, unsettling biases come to the forefront and reveal the ways so-called progressive art can be used to uphold racist attitudes. Scheduled to open on Broadway in 1957, Childress objected to the requested changes in the script that would “sanitize”…


The Night Before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore, Christine Brallier (illustrator),

Book cover of The Night Before Christmas

Why this book?

My children are eleven and eight, so we still read to him at bedtime, and we did to her until fairly recently. I love this book. It’s so atmospheric. It’s the only way I can remember the names of Santa’s reindeer. The kids are bored of it. Dad! Not again!

The Night Before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore, Christine Brallier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's late night visit has a man and his curious kitty investigating. Did you know that Santa can play the guitar? Well, he can! Each page is filled with thoughtful details, luscious color, and a joyful whimsy. Mosaic artist Christine Brallier has created fifteen stained glass mosaic illustrations in her unique rendition of the classic The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Reading the book with her family nearly five years ago, Christine was inspired to create her own version of the story and to put her family and their cat in it.…

Book cover of The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

Why this book?

The 13th Gift is a mother’s memoir of an unforgettable Christmas. Just before the holidays, her husband suddenly dies. The family is devastated and lost; he was the glue in their family of five. The numb existence that sets in isolates them from one another. Christmas seems a bother, except to the young daughter. Then, a gift mysteriously appears on their porch.

I was pulled into this family’s touching day-by-day return from the abyss, thanks to the author’s storytelling and because I was reminded how powerful an act of kindness can be—and how simple. I think this true story inspires us to do more noticing and acting, when a person or family might need the help of an “angel.”

The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

By Joanne Huist Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 13th Gift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who…

Santa Mouse, Where Are You?

By Michael Brown, Elfrieda De Witt (illustrator),

Book cover of Santa Mouse, Where Are You?

Why this book?

I like how Santa Mouse, Santa’s little mouse friend, wrapped a special present and took good care of it, despite falling from Santa’s sleigh and getting lost. Santa Mouse wouldn’t let the present out of his grip until he found a special Christmas tree inside a house with a special light to set the present on. The book shows the reader the importance of using care to protect something treasured. Santa Mouse’s determination pays off. This is a great message for kids.

Santa Mouse, Where Are You?

By Michael Brown, Elfrieda De Witt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Santa Mouse, Where Are You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Santa's littlest helper gets lost and must find his way back to Santa's sleigh in time to save Christmas in this delightful holiday picture book.

Every Christmas, Santa Mouse becomes Santa's little helper. This year, when Santa's ready to take off in his sleigh, Santa Mouse scurries onto his shoulder-only to fall off into the deep, dark snowy ground below. How will he ever find Santa and help him deliver presents to the children?

Book cover of By the Gun: Six from Richard Matheson

Why this book?

Richard Matheson’s career was as prolific as it was varied. He’s best known for I Am Legend, What Dreams May Come, and The Incredible Shrinking Man, to say nothing of his Twilight Zone episodes, but he also wrote the Spur Award-winning Journal of The Gun Years and its companion novel The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickock – huge influences on my own found document novel. A number of his western shorts are collected here. Most notable in terms of weird westerns is the cleverly titled "Gunsight," the story of a blind lawman preparing to defend himself from a band of approaching killers a la High Noon.

By the Gun: Six from Richard Matheson

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Art of Keeping Secrets

Why this book?

Rachael Johns has a very chatty, familiar way of writing that has you soon forgetting that you are sitting at home, reading a book. The Art of Keeping Secrets is transportive, funny, and intimate and I particularly loved the lead character, Felicity, although I was equally invested in the lives of her BFFs Emma and Neve. ‘Secrets’ is indeed the key theme of this novel and, as they slowly unravel, you’ll find yourself hooked as to the outcome. Love the romantic twists and you’ll be turning the pages fast at the end! (No spoilers!)

The Art of Keeping Secrets

By Rachael Johns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Some Secrets Weren’t Meant to Be Kept…

They started out as the “misfit moms”—the trio of less-than-conventional parents at their sons’ tiny private school. They’ve shared everything. Or so they thought. Now, on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York City, they’ll sightsee, they’ll shop, they’ll catch a few Broadway shows. They’ll tell all…

After seventeen years as a single parent, Neve will reveal a past sin that could destroy her relationship with her son. Emma will uncover the roots of her exhaustion and divulge the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And Flick—who knows a little about crafting a…

Maybe This Time

By Jennifer Crusie,

Book cover of Maybe This Time

Why this book?

Jennifer Crusie writes some of the funniest heroines I ever met. I adore her voice and I wanted to add her to my list. When I went to Jen’s blog ArghInk to ask her which of her heroines was over forty. She said Andie.

Andie’s ex-husband North wants one last favor from her as closure. Help him settle the two delinquent orphans he inherited from a distant relative. He knows Andie can handle anything.

Her new fiancée isn’t pleased. When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren't your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What's worse, Andie's fiancé thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right.

I read Maybe This Time a long time ago. Twice. When I went to read it again this week, I discovered I’d lent it. I couldn’t check it out of the library. I was 15th on the hold list. So I rebought it.

Maybe This Time

By Jennifer Crusie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Andie Miller is ready to move on with her life. She wants to marry her fiancé and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, North asks one last favor: Since the death of a distant cousin, he's become the guardian of two orphans who have already driven away three nannies. North needs someone to take care of the situation―and he knows Andie can handle anything.

Carter and Alice aren't your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper…


Right Ho, Jeeves

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Book cover of Right Ho, Jeeves

Why this book?

One of the many great comic novels featuring Bertie Wooster, a rich and likeable but somewhat dim-witted fellow about town and his more than capable butler Jeeves who spends a great deal of his time extricating Bertie from various scrapes in which he finds himself. Wodehouse's light and witty prose and the cast of amusing individuals such as Gussie Fink-Nottle and Tubby Glossop, not only make this book a joy to read but guarantees smiles and laughter.

Right Ho, Jeeves

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_________________________________________
'If comedy is your thing, it's hard to match PG Wodehouse and his classic characters Jeeves and Bertie Wooster for hilarious farce.' Irish Daily Mail

'P.G. Wodehouse wrote the best English comic novels of the century' Sebastian Faulks

'Heaven is Right Ho, Jeeves' Hugh Johnson

'Jeeves, I'm engaged.'
'I hope you will be very happy, sir.'
'Don't be an ass. I'm engaged to Miss Bassett.'

Bertie is feeling most put out when he finds that his friend Gussie is seeking relationship advice from Jeeves. Meanwhile Aunt Dahlia has asked Bertie to present awards at a school prize-giving ceremony. In…


Mary Poppins

By P. L. Travers,

Book cover of Mary Poppins

Why this book?

Mary Poppins explores self-discovery and captures the imagination of the use of magic.

I love Mary Poppin because it’s the best feel-good story for children. I find the characters sweet and Mary Poppins is so energetic and with strong values. I found it inspiring to help me write my own book. I think it has inspired a few classics.

Mary Poppins

By P. L. Travers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover the joy and wonder of Mary Poppins in the classic adventures!

The original best-loved classic about the world's most famous nanny - Mary Poppins.

When the Banks family advertise for a nanny, Mary Poppins and her talking umbrella appear out of the sky, ready to take the children on extraordinary adventures.

Mary Poppins is strict but fair, and soon Michael and Jane are whisked off to a funfair inside a pavement picture and on many more outings with their wonderful new nanny!

Needless to say, when at last 'the wind changes' and she flies away, the children are devastated.…


Book cover of Thirteen: The Serial Killer Isn't on Trial. He's on the Jury.

Why this book?

This is not the first in Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series but it was the first one I read and it had me hooked right from beginning to end. The tension builds and builds—Eddie Flynn is a likeable protagonist and the killer is one scary dude. This is a courtroom drama with a difference the serial killer is on the jury! I simply had to finish this book and it kept me up until 2.00 am. I’ve since read several more books by Cavanagh and, so far, they’ve all been up to the same high standard.

Thirteen: The Serial Killer Isn't on Trial. He's on the Jury.

By Steve Cavanagh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN'T ON TRIAL.

HE'S ON THE JURY...

****************

'Books this ingenious don't come along very often.' Michael Connelly

'THIRTEEN is my favourite read of the year.' Sarah Pinborough

'Outstanding.' Lee Child

'Smart and original. This is a belter of a book.' Clare Mackintosh

'One of the most mercilessly compelling thrillers you will read this decade' Chris Brookmyre

****************

'To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?'

Murder wasn't the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life.…


The Nurse

By Amy Cross,

Book cover of The Nurse

Why this book?

This book was my first read of Amy Cross’ collection of books. I made quick work of it as I was sucked into the story. It is the tale of an old house and how it has a hold on anyone who lives in it. She masterfully tells the tale of the current occupants and the former occupants blended into one beautifully frightening tale. 

The Nurse

By Amy Cross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When she moves with her mother to a new house, Rachel immediately knows that something's not quite right. Although she's blind, Rachel realizes that all the stories about the house's past don't quite add up.

She's dead right.

This particular house was previously owned by a troubled nurse who spent her every waking moment caring for a sick old man. After losing her mind, the nurse went on a horrific killing spree. Is she still around now, lurking in the shadows, waiting for her chance to strike again?

The Nurse is a horror novel about a girl who finds herself…

The Mongrel Mage

By L. E. Modesitt Jr.,

Book cover of The Mongrel Mage

Why this book?

Again the magic system is very comprehensible with the interplay between order and chaos being the foundation. The development of the main character Beltur as he discovers his relationship to and talent with the interplay of order and chaos magic which is the foundation of how the world works. This book is also grounded in economics and presents deep currents of bigotry and intolerance that must be dealt with in a preindustrial society operating with almost medieval technology, warfare, and gender attitudes. It also addresses how a mage might earn a living in this society where order and chaos magic are a reality while needing to be aware of the limits and energy required to practice the magic without killing themselves. It also addresses some of the very real consequences of war and how magic might be used there as well.

The Mongrel Mage

By L. E. Modesitt Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

L. E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to his longest and bestselling fantasy series with volume nineteen, The Mongrel Mage, which marks the beginning of a new story arc.

USA Today Bestseller List
Locus Bestseller List

In the world of Recluce, powerful mages can wield two kinds of magic—the white of Chaos or the black of Order. Beltur, however, has talents no one dreamed of, talents not seen in hundreds of years that blend both magics.

On the run from a power hungry white mage, Beltur is taken in by Order mages who set him on the path to discover and hone…


Take a Chance on Me

By Sapna Bhog,

Book cover of Take a Chance on Me

Why this book?

Bhog’s Sehgal saga takes you to the world of India’s mega-rich. Kabier Sehgal returns to India to take over the running of Sehgal Systems from his grandfather, Janak Sehgal. Janak is a loveable grandfather figure, who keeps a close eye on his grandchildren and is a mentor to many of their friends too. Keya Karia is one of the trio known as Janak’s Angels, the other being Sheena Sehgal and Raashi Dewan. In this enemy-to-lover romance, Kabier suspects Keya of selling company secrets, but their instant chemistry plays havoc with their lives. As Sheena’s wedding nears, they admit their feelings. Bhog’s books take you to the world of found families and the joy of lifelong friendships and to the world of crazy rich South Asians.

Take a Chance on Me

By Sapna Bhog,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take a Chance on Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A must reader for all the romantic people out there." - Amazon Reader

Enter a world of glamour, wealth and beautiful people. Enter the world of the Sehgals!

He made a mistake and now he will pay the price for it...with his heart.
KABIER SEHGAL, scion of the Sehgal empire, has returned to India to take over the helm of his companies from his grandfather. His first mission is to find out who is selling his company's secrets. When the suspicion falls on KEYA KARIA, he decides to work closely with her to expose her fraud. He accuses her of…

The Damned

By Algernon Blackwood,

Book cover of The Damned

Why this book?

Another haunted house story, with a similar emphasis on atmosphere. A sister and brother visit a friend whose house is infected with competing ghostly forces. A constant sense of dread permeates the atmosphere. Blackwood keeps the reader on edge, waiting for the shoe to drop. And that’s it. It may pale by today’s standards of horror, but the novel excels at how ghostly presences vie for dominance.

The Damned

By Algernon Blackwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How is this book unique?
Font adjustments & biography included
Unabridged (100% Original content)
Illustrated

About The Damned by Algernon Blackwood
The Damned by Algernon Blackwood is a great haunted house story along the lines of Turn of the Screw and the Haunting of Hill House. A brother and sister spend some time with a recently widowed friend. Her deceased husband was a strict fire and brimstone preacher who damned everyone who didn't believe like him to hell. His less strong-willed wife fell under his spell, but now the house seems to be haunted by...a shadow? Goblins? Ghostly pagans? Or…

Book cover of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Why this book?

This book is as much a modern Christmas classic as Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is a Victorian one. Remember when churches or communities put on Christmas Nativity plays with kids playing all the roles? Barbara Robinson conjures just such an event when the horrible Hurdmans invade the sacrosanct precincts of the annual play and take over a lot of the roles. Sometimes this book makes me howl with laughter; sometimes it chokes me up—depending on what kind of year it’s been.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By Barbara Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.

Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.”

The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. You and your family will laugh along with this funny story, perfect for independent reading or read-aloud sharing.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie,…


Book cover of Disability and Theatre: A Practical Manual for Inclusion in the Arts

Why this book?

My personal creativity is not tidy… I believe nobody creates in a vacuum. The disabled contribute intelligence, perspective, and expression to all modes of creative production. Understanding how to utilize talent from any historically marginalized group means learning how to communicate with folks with diverse abilities and backgrounds. Utilizing respectful language and practices with diverse communities will draw and engage audiences with more vibrant storytelling in today’s world. This practical guide includes case studies designed to guide theater companies to create inclusive productions with the disabled in central and creative roles. Disability and Theatre illustrates how in the theater, where “all the world is a stage”, as in our own lives, creative processes emerge when people with different abilities work together… that is just good living.

Disability and Theatre: A Practical Manual for Inclusion in the Arts

By Stephanie Barton-Farcas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Disability and Theatre: A Practical Manual for Inclusion in the Arts is a step-by step manual on how to create inclusive theatre, including how and where to find actors, how to publicize productions, run rehearsals, act intricate scenes like fights and battles, work with unions, contracts, and agents, and deal with technical issues. This practical information was born from the author's 16 years of running the first inclusive theatre company in New York City, and is applicable to any performance level: children's theatre, community theatre, regional theatre, touring companies, Broadway, and academic theatre. This book features anecdotal case studies that…


A Thousand Acres

By Jane Smiley,

Book cover of A Thousand Acres

Why this book?

I like to imagine families as a single human body and all the organs as the various family members. One organ breaks down and disease finds its way to other organs. If you buy into that analogy it’s easy to see how one family member can tear an entire family apart. But this novel, tragic as it is, reminded me that each person must do their own individual healing. Reconciling the past and finding our way to healing is not a group thing, not even a family thing. It’s choosing to find our own way, our own truth, however painful that might be.

A Thousand Acres

By Jane Smiley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This powerful twentieth-century reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear centers on a wealthy Iowa farmer who decides to divide his farm among his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will, which sets in motion a chain of events that brings dark truths to light. Ambitiously conceived and stunningly written, A Thousand Acres spins the most fundamental themes of truth, justice, love, and pride into a universally acclaimed masterpiece.

Breathing Lessons

By Anne Tyler,

Book cover of Breathing Lessons

Why this book?

Anne Tyler has always written about family. Some critics have called her characters quirky, but I tend to think they are actually quite average. Both endearing and frustrating, I tend to love them the same way I love my own family—flaws and all. Her observations are incredibly nuanced and meaningful at the same time. Breathing Lessons is one of my favorites but pick up any Anne Tyler book and you’re likely to see shades of your own family dynamics on the pages. And you’ll love them anyway.

Breathing Lessons

By Anne Tyler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Evoking Jane Austen, Emma Straub, and other masters of the literary marriage, Breathing Lessons celebrates the small miracles and magic of truly knowing someone.

Unfolding over the course of a single emotionally fraught day, this stunning novel encompasses a lifetime of dreams, regrets and reckonings—and is oftern regarded as Tyler's seminal work. Maggie and Ira Moran are on a road trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Deer Lick, Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of a friend. Along the way, they reflect on the state of their marriage, its trials and…

Book cover of 'Twas the Night Before Scandal

Why this book?

This story really had me chuckling, as the hero goes to great lengths to set up the perfect proposal, only to lose the irreplaceable family engagement ring! Cue a wild goose chase of tracking it down without letting on. Meanwhile, his beloved and her bestie become convinced he's up to no good, so are sneaking about behind every hedge and door to keep an eye on him. A feel-good ‘friends to lovers’ story to get you in a festive mood. 

'Twas the Night Before Scandal

By Merry Farmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 'Twas the Night Before Scandal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All she wants for Christmas is him.

Lady Beatrice Lichfield has been madly in love with Lord Harrison Manfred, Marquess of Landsbury, for years, and she thought he returned her affection. So why hasn’t he proposed yet? With Christmas only days away, and with the encouragement of her mischievous friends, she’s ready to move from friends to lovers where Harrison is concerned.

Harrison is head over heels in love with Bea and has every intention of surprising her with the most perfect Christmas Eve proposal ever. Until he loses the family heirloom ring he means to propose with. He sets…

Death of a Salesman

By Arthur Miller,

Book cover of Death of a Salesman

Why this book?

This play has so many layers: men’s relationship to work, marriage, fatherhood, unrealized ambitions, and the costs of buying your own bullshit.  See it with Dustin Hoffman or Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Death of a Salesman

By Arthur Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of a salesman's deferred American dream

Ever since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as a milestone of the American theater. In the person of Willy Loman, the aging, failing salesman who makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine, Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are at once insupportably vast and dangerously insubstantial. He has given us a figure whose name has become a symbol for a kind of majestic grandiosity-and a play that compresses epic extremes of humor and anguish,…

The Rose and the Yew Tree

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of The Rose and the Yew Tree

Why this book?

I first discovered The Rose and the Yew Tree while searching for novels about irreparable rifts between once-close friends. I always seek out books that resonate, thematically, with any current emotional challenge that I have. At the time, I had just been sent the most vicious communication I’ve ever received in my life from someone I’d believed was a close friend. Her letter accused me of two things I hadn’t done, and I was absolutely floored by it. 


Later, once I’d calmed down, I reread the WhatsApp messages I’d sent her in response to her letter, explaining that she was mistaken and that I had not done the things she’d accused me of. I was shocked by my own panicked and subservient tone. I recognised the palpable fear in my words, and I realised that I’d had only one goal at the time: to ward off further attack. 


So, I then had an interesting grudge against myself to contend with! For a good few weeks, I believed my own cowardice was highly grudgeworthy. Why had I not responded to her letter with, ‘I’m not going to dignify this with a reply’? I forgave myself eventually, both for my fear and appeasement of her and for my poor judgement on the choice-of-friends front, but only on one condition: that I resolved to do better in future. From now on I would be brave even when scared. And my close circle of friends would never again contain anybody who thought it was okay to have ‘Send slanderous hate mail’ in their repertoire of behavioural options. 


Why am I sharing all of this? To explain why I cheered when I read the blurb and first chapter of The Rose and the Yew Tree, both of which promised a highly unusual take on the friendship-gone-sour themeThere are loads of novels about the more common varieties of friend grudges. The Rose and the Yew Tree piqued my interest from the start by promising a far spikier, odder and more unpredictable narrative experience. I recognised in its narrator’s voice something of the horror and disgust that I had so recently felt. It seemed to be the perfect book at the perfect time.


In Chapter 1 of the novel, a woman arrives at the home of the narrator, Hugh, and begs him to go and visit the death bed of his former friend and now enemy, John Gabriel. Hugh refuses, but is then intrigued when the woman tells him that these days Gabriel is viewed as a saint and a hero by all who know him. This bears little resemblance to the immoral cad that Hugh remembers, and he is mystified - so much so that he has to go to the death bed to find out what on earth can have happened to Gabriel in the intervening years. 


This novel is one of Agatha Christie’s best, and is satisfyingly mysterious even though it’s not a murder mystery.

The Rose and the Yew Tree

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rose and the Yew Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A captivating novel of love and intrigue.

Everyone expected Isabella Charteris, beautiful, sheltered and aristocratic, to marry her cousin Rupert when he came back from the War. It would have been such a suitable marriage. How strange then that John Gabriel, an ambitious and ruthless war hero, should appear in her life. For Isabella, the price of love would mean abandoning her dreams of home and happiness forever. For Gabriel, it would destroy his chance of a career and all his ambitions...

Famous for her ingenious crime books and plays, Agatha Christie also wrote about crimes of the heart, six…


Book cover of Absolutely Effortless Prosperity

Why this book?

There is a spiritual dimension to elevating your income. If you are not aligned with that statement, this book is not for you. If you are aligned, Bijan will blow your mind! Alongside some really cool spiritual stories, Bijan lays out a 30-day challenge to transform your relationship with what is possible in your life. The lessons start out relatively easy but get increasingly harder. For example, on day 13 the assignment is to “Find a homeless person and give that person some money. When you do, notice your judgment. That judgment is about you.” Wow! I guarantee that if you diligently complete the 30 lessons in 30 days, something big will shift in your life and you will elevate your income! Enjoy!

Absolutely Effortless Prosperity

By Bijan Anjomi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By following these thirty simple, yet profound lessons, you can transform your own life and experience miracles! To be totally prosperous in every aspect of our lives we must first decide to make peace our ultimate goal--we do not have to get better jobs, second jobs, or even work more hours.

Book cover of The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse

Why this book?

The myth is that childhood sexual abuse is so horrific that survivors are scarred for life and can never enjoy fulfilling lovemaking. Actually, with information and therapy, survivors can enjoy deeply pleasurable and satisfying sex lives. This book points the way. 

The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse

By Staci Haines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Survivor's Guide to Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the author's extensive training and experience in working with abuse survivors, The Survivor's Guide to Sex offers an affirming, sex-positive approach to recovery from incest and rape. While most books on the topic broach sexuality only to reassure women that it is alright to say "no" to unwanted sex, this one encourages women to learn how to say "yes" to their own desires and on their own terms.

Points of discussion include problems common to women survivors. Haines teaches survivors to embrace their own sexual choices and preferences, learn about their own sexual response cycles, and heal through…


Book cover of Untrue Stories of Fiction

Why this book?

This is the guy who wrote Deeper Thoughts and some of the best sketches on Saturday Night Live. He is a regular in The New Yorker and American Bystander and one of our generation’s finest humorists. This collection I feel is his best yet. I read a passage before I go to sleep to deal with this crazy world.

Untrue Stories of Fiction

By Jack Handey,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Bob Dylan: No Direction Home

Why this book?

Among the 1,000 plus books about Bob Dylan this is the closest we have to a full authorised biography. Robert Shelton was with the artist from the beginning in 1961, witnessing all the controversial concerts. No Direction Home is the definitive biography, written with Dylan’s blessing and co-operation and with favoured access to original sources. This beautifully illustrated 2011 edition, edited By Elizabeth Thomson and Patrick Humphries, is an update of the original 1986 standard.

Bob Dylan: No Direction Home

By Robert Shelton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This lavishly illustrated and thoughtfully abridged edition of THE classic book on Dylan—published to coincide with Dylan’s 80th birthday (May 24, 1941)—is a must for all Dylan aficionados.

Robert Shelton met Bob Dylan when the young singer arrived in New York in 1960, becoming Dylan’s friend, champion, and critic. Shelton’s book No Direction Home, first published in 1986, was hailed as the definitive unauthorized biography of this complex, passionate genius, and is the only one written with the subject’s active cooperation. Dylan gave Shelton access to his parents, his brother, and his childhood friends, among others. No Direction Home took…

Green Eggs and Ham

By Dr. Seuss,

Book cover of Green Eggs and Ham

Why this book?

I couldn’t have a ‘best crazy book’ list without a Dr. Seuss on it! This one is stuffed full of rhythmic repetition, which drives the story along until you’re breathless, and includes the craziest of scenarios. Just the title is enough to tell you this is no ordinary story.

When faced with such a grumpy old grouch, the persistence of Sam-I-Am to get him to try his green eggs and ham is medal-worthy. It just goes to show we can’t really know what we like until we try it!

This is the perfect book to introduce children to the joy of words and reading – something so important and valuable.

Green Eggs and Ham

By Dr. Seuss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sam-I-Am and his Green Eggs and Ham get a brand-new look for their 60th birthday! The original Dr. Seuss classic that inspired the Netflix series.

It's the 60th birthday of Green Eggs and Ham - and you're invited to the party!

The original Dr. Seuss classic that inspired the Netflix series is now available in this beautiful 60th birthday celebration paperback.

When Sam-I-am pesters a grumpy grouch to eat a plate of green eggs and ham, we soon find out we can't really know what we like until we try it!

Written using only fifty words, this is the perfect…


Book cover of The Record of Singing Vol. 1

Why this book?

A remarkable tracing of the evolution of singing throughout the decades. Occasionally Scott is dismissive, (sometimes of the most famous singers) but his remarks are always intriguing and thought-provoking. Through his text, Scott causes one to re-evaluate some of the most famous singers and the reason for their fame.

The Record of Singing Vol. 1

By Michael Scott,

Why should I read it?

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


Opera on Record

By Alan Blyth,

Book cover of Opera on Record

Why this book?

This series of 3 books traces the recordings of various operas from the infancy of recording through modern-day recording and is another fascinting read. Making this even more interesting is the fact that each opera is taken on by a different writer so you always get a fresh view on the works being discussed.

Opera on Record

By Alan Blyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Good Book! Ships direct from Amazon, buy with 100% confidence!

Book cover of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Why this book?

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale is more than the story of a child’s missing beloved object. It is about the everyday things that a father and daughter do together. It is about the lengths a dad will go to fix a problem he was slow in figuring out. It is about the love between father and daughter. This story is so relatable, you can’t help but falling in love, and reading over and over with your kids. Or by yourself. Just because.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

By Mo Willems,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first in the much-loved Knuffle Bunny series, join Trixie, her dad and her favourite stuffed bunny in this award-winning and brilliantly observed cautionary tale.

A Caldecott Honor book from the creator of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and That Is Not a Good Idea!, this is the brilliantly true-to-life tale of what happens when Daddy's in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong. Merging expressive cartoon-esque illustrations with beautiful black-and-white photographs of New York, the visually striking story follows Daddy, Trixie and Knuffle Bunny on their trip to the neighbourhood Laundromat. But their adventure takes a dramatic…


Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

By Eileen Spinelli, Paul Yalowitz (illustrator),

Book cover of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Why this book?

The story inspires sadness, hope, and happiness. At first, you’ll feel sorry for Mr. Hatch. You’ll care about him and wonder why he is the way he is. You’ll watch him receive a gift that has a lasting effect on him. Then, with a turn of events, you’ll feel sorry for him again. But by the end, you’ll be rooting for him.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

By Eileen Spinelli, Paul Yalowitz (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch.

"Somebody loves you," the note says.
"Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room.
"Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town.
"But who," Mr. Hatch wonders, "could that somebody be?"

When Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is, the answer is even better than he could have guessed!

Book cover of Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George

Why this book?

I don’t think I could put together a list of books for next-level Broadway lovers without a Sondheim entry. There are many books to choose from but this one sweeps you off your feet and into the world of creating a Broadway classic. “Behind the scenes” doesn’t even begin to cover this journey into not only the Pulitizer award-winning show but also the intergenerational friendship between Sondheim and Lapine. That relationship and their creative collaboration are curated through script notes, personal photos, and sketches, giving you a glimpse into genius Broadway minds. 

Sunday in the Park with George is such a layered work on its own but this book takes you another step into the mix, with a backstage view of how it came to be. My brain was firing in a million directions when I was finished with this one. This book, like the rest of this list, enhances the view of our favorite musicals and the genre we love. 

Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George

By James Lapine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic musical Sunday in the Park with George

Putting It Together chronicles the two-year odyssey of creating the iconic Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. In 1982, James Lapine, at the beginning of his career as a playwright and director, met Stephen Sondheim, nineteen years his senior and already a legendary Broadway composer and lyricist. Shortly thereafter, the two decided to write a musical inspired by Georges Seurat's nineteenth-century painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

Through conversations between Lapine and Sondheim, as well as most…

Book cover of Music for a Merman (Sea of Love Book 2)

Why this book?

We’re going a little paranormal for my last recommendation! Music for a Merman is the second in the Sea of Love series. Our heroine, Charlie, is another who is confident, strong, and definitely has an attitude to boot! But that’s what you want in a main character—you want the flaws, the defiance, going against the grain. Alice captures that with Charlie. You want a main character with their own personality and opinions, to help capture and connect with readers!

Music for a Merman (Sea of Love Book 2)

By Alice Renaud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Music for a Merman (Sea of Love Book 2) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble, especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.”
Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Find out as much as possible about the mainland humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Clan. It should be easy.
Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with…

My Brilliant Career

By Miles Franklin,

Book cover of My Brilliant Career

Why this book?

Every Australian bookish girl knows Sybylla from My Brilliant Career. She is the original feisty heroine, the unashamed young feminist who rejects the isolation and low expectations of the bush and marriage at the turn of the twentieth century, wanting to strike out on her own as a writer. That her yearnings are so irrelevant to those around her and her ambitions unfulfilled act as a dare to all of us, and to me – to have that brilliant career, to tell your truths and have your independence, whether anyone else likes it or not. Equally as vivid, witty, and socially acute as Twain, if you read only one old and dusty novel about Australia, read this one.

My Brilliant Career

By Miles Franklin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1901, this Australian classic recounts the live of 16-year-old Sybylla Melvyn. Trapped on her parents' outback farm, she simultaneously loves bush life and hates the physical burdens it imposes. For Sybylla longs for a more refined, aesthetic lifestyle -- to read, to think, to sing -- but most of all to do great things.

Suddenly her life is transformed. Whisked away to live on her grandmother's gracious property, she falls under the eye of the rich and handsome Harry Beecham. And soon she finds herself choosing between everything a conventional life offers and her own plans for…


Last Wish

By Betty Rollin,

Book cover of Last Wish

Why this book?

Betty Rollin is best known as the award-winning national correspondent for NBC. Writing about her personal life, she sure knows how to tell a story. Long before any state recognized a legal option for assisted dying, a few brave people navigated the risks of helping a loved one exit life on their own terms. Betty and her husband, Ed, were two such people, and they were especially courageous in publicizing what they did. Last Wish was a bestseller when it came out in 1985 and again in 1999. It became an ABC TV movie in 1992 starring Patty Duke and Maureen Stapleton. Both the story and the storytelling, are captivating. Betty’s mom got the peaceful death she desired, and we got a wonderful, even humorous story of love, loyalty, and international daring. 

Last Wish

By Betty Rollin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At a time when tempers flare over the Oregon assisted suicide law and Jack Kevorkian's physician-aid-in-dying, Last Wish, Betty Rollin's ground-breaking New York Times bestseller, is due for a rereading. Last Wish is an intimate, fiercely honest memoir of a daughter's struggle to come to terms with her terminally ill mother's decision to die. More than a examination of the ethical, spiritual, and technical aspects of assisted suicide, Last Wish is also a celebration of Rollin's imperfect family, a passionate testament to her mother's character and courage, and a compelling argument for the right of the terminally ill to a…

Book cover of The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Why this book?

Modern dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp encourages the discipline of creativity. She illustrates both the play and the hard work that went into creating her dance works—and shows how her life’s lessons can be applied to any of us, if we really want to be productive creatives.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

By Twyla Tharp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What makes someone creative? How does someone face the empty page, the empty stage and making something where nothing existed before? Not just a dilemma for the artist, it is something everyone faces everyday. What will I cook that isn't boring? How can I make that memo persuasive? What sales pitch will increase the order, get me the job, lock in that bonus? These too, are creative acts, and they all share a common need: proper preparation. For Twyla Tharp, creativity is no mystery; it's the product of hard work and preparation, of knowing one's aims and one's subject, of…

The Shadow-Line

By Joseph Conrad,

Book cover of The Shadow-Line

Why this book?

Ships and boats are good settings for conflict; physical, sociological, and psychological.

No wind to drive the ship, a sick crew, and a mentally unstable first mate beleaguered by the ghost of the previous captain are trials the young captain must deal with. As in all of Conrad's fiction, there is plenty of insight into the human condition revealed through the characters and felt in the subtext. I classify it as a coming-of-age at sea story, drawn from Conrad's own experiences. "Coming-of-age" does not mean "young adult" in my life dictionary. It may continue well beyond the teen years.

The Shadow-Line

By Joseph Conrad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new captain must lead his crew to safety and face his own internal struggles as he works to overcome disrespect, insanity, and coming-of-age all while sailing on an unforgiving sea.

There is an invisible line that divides life into a before and after-adolescence and adulthood. The unnamed narrator of The Shadow Line is painfully aware of this, but is unsure where the line lies in his life. He recalls a number of rash decisions he has made, some more recent than others. Soon after he impulsively quits his comfortable job as a shipmate, the narrator meets two men who…

The Enchanted April

By Elizabeth von Arnim,

Book cover of The Enchanted April

Why this book?

I have read this book a dozen times. It just makes me so happy! It’s set between the wars. Four very different women rent a villa in Italy for the month of April. They are all escaping something unsatisfactory at home. The beauty of Italy and the unlikely friendship that blossoms between them alters them profoundly. Written from each woman’s perspective, the author gives the reader a wonderful insight into their thoughts and motivations. It’s witty, charming, and clever, but above all, it is so uplifting.

The Enchanted April

By Elizabeth von Arnim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1922, Elizabeth Von Arnim's The Enchanted April is a charming and light-hearted novel about unlikely female friendships and the power of a blissful escape.

Complete & Unabridged. Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, cloth-bound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover.

Four mismatched women respond to an advert in The Times offering a beautiful medieval castle to rent on the Italian Riviera. Bashful Mrs Wilkins, cheerless Mrs Arbuthnot, widowed Mrs Fisher and socialite Lady Caroline Dester are each…


Book cover of Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2: A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Why this book?

This was one giant book I got as a gift and thought I’d never read, but when I started I couldn’t stop. These are old stories, and arguably the oldest I have ever read that ring true today. Holmes is like Thrawn, a mastermind, but he doesn’t rule Empires or command armies. Holmes works in isolation with only his trusted assistant Watson. He follows mysteries wherever they present themselves and is bored by anything else.

It’s the keen intellect that draws me to this book. The kind of stuff most people wouldn’t waste their time on because it goes over their heads. This is not the new Hollywood version of Holmes, this is much more potent. Older movies of Holmes do much better, but none match the caliber that is in these original stories. 

I can’t fully explain, but there is a magic to them that rejects the ‘mundane’ world and suggests there is more staring you in the face if you just had the intellect to recognize it.

Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2: A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Happily find the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend Doctor Watson. This edition (volume 1 & 2) includes all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work: four novels and 56 short stories!
In this volume 2 novels (A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four) and 29 short stories (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes - first part). More than 800 pages of reading !

Mike Nichols: A Life

By Mark Harris,

Book cover of Mike Nichols: A Life

Why this book?

Journalist and former executive editor for Entertainment Weekly Mark Harris is three for three with his full-length books. His first, Pictures at a Revolution, examined the rise of New Hollywood through the five 1967 Best Picture nominees. His second, Five Came Back, chronicled five film directors who assisted in World War II. But his strongest work to date is a birth-to-earth, warts-and-all biography of one of the most influential personalities in American film and theatre, Mike Nichols. From his genre-altering comedy work with Elaine May to his Broadway collaborations with the likes of Simon and Hellman to helming landmark film work such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, and The Birdcage, it’s somehow a breeze even at almost 700 pages. We should all strive for a life worthy of such a loving and well-researched biography.

Mike Nichols: A Life

By Mark Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A National Book Critics Circle finalist • One of People's top 10 books of 2021 •An instant New York Times bestseller • Named a best book of the year by NPR and Time

A magnificent biography of one of the most protean creative forces in American entertainment history, a life of dazzling highs and vertiginous plunges—some of the worst largely unknown until now—by the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

Mike Nichols burst onto the scene as a wunderkind: while still in his twenties, he was half of a hit improv duo with Elaine May…

The Turn of the Key

By Ruth Ware,

Book cover of The Turn of the Key

Why this book?

I’m a huge Ruth Ware fan—I’ve read and loved all of her books—but this one sticks out to me as one of the best, and part of it is because of the creepiness factor. When I read this book, I truly felt like I was in that house with the main character Rowan, hearing those terrifying noises, discovering the hidden room, and exploring the treacherous garden—and it made for an incredibly thrilling reading experience.

The Turn of the Key

By Ruth Ware,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THEIR DREAM HOUSE WILL BECOME HER WORST NIGHTMARE

'Ruth Ware just gets better and better' Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of The Family Upstairs

'The queen of creepy crime' Metro

When Rowan comes across the advert, it seems too good to be true: a live-in nanny position, with an extremely generous salary.

What she doesn't know is that she's stepping into a nightmare - one that will end with her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she's made mistakes.
But she's not guilty - at least not of murder.
Which means someone else is...

THE TURN OF THE…


Book cover of The Seesaw Log: A Chronicle of the Stage Production, with the Text, of Two for the Seesaw

Why this book?

Gibson wrote a hit two-character play called Two for the Seesaw in 1958. It starred Henry Fonda and Ann Bancroft. The following year, Gibson published The Seesaw Log, which reprints the play, but, more interestingly, is prefaced with a diary that runs longer than the play. The diary is the hair-raising, exhausting, and terrifying chronicle of what it took to get that play to Broadway and to make it a hit. It’s about the compromises between art and commerce, and it’s a cry from the heart of an artist trying desperately to preserve his vision.

The Seesaw Log: A Chronicle of the Stage Production, with the Text, of Two for the Seesaw

By William Gibson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

(Limelight). A day-by-day candid account of the creativity, conflict, and compromise involved in the making of a smash-hit Broadway play.

Blue Blood

By Craig Unger,

Book cover of Blue Blood

Why this book?

Rebekah Harkness, the protagonist of Swift’s song "the last great American dynasty," once starred in a real-life fairytale, playing the role of “wealthiest American woman.” Blue Blood is a biography written about her, and it was hard to get my hands on. When I finally got access, I was intrigued by what I found within: the ultimate parable of the “American Dream.” Famous friends, impactful work, scandalous headlines, philosophical musings, epic tragedy, and so many surprising parallels to Taylor Swift and her art. Only one edition of Blue Blood was ever printed. I knew more were interested in the story of Rebekah Harkness than who had access to the book—so I transcribed the stories collected and told by Unger into my novel!  

Blue Blood

By Craig Unger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An account of the life of Standard Oil heiress Rebekah Harkness, known for both her philanthropy and eccentricity, traces her involvement with alcohol and drugs

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Why this book?

Better than the original, I daresay. This fan-fic explores an alternate world where Harry Potter, a household name amongst people of my generation, is not his classic self but rather a young genius who applies science to his wizarding powers whenever possible.

What I especially appreciate about this novel is how thoughtfully its plot was developed—while perhaps a stretch for me to call it explicitly cerebral, it certainly borders on the genre. This world’s Harry faces his challenges in such a methodical way (sometimes overly so!) that I was actively making guesses or getting surprised on an almost chapterly basis.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

By Eliezer Yudkowsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Tell No One

By Harlan Coben,

Book cover of Tell No One

Why this book?

I love a good page-turner. I love to write them and I love to read them. I strive to write novels that the reader will binge. Novels as addictive as a drug. I want each chapter I write to be like another hit—a re-up that floods the reader’s brain with dopamine. Tell No One by Harlan Coben is a novel that I binged. It keeps you guessing until the end. And while some of the payoffs may seem a little over-the-top, I am able to overlook it because this novel (like much of Coben’s work) is just so damn addictive!

Tell No One

By Harlan Coben,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tell No One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every year, the Doctor David Beck and his young wife, Elizabeth, meet at the same deserted lake to rediscover their love for each other, and inscribe one more year into 'their' tree. But that year was the last. Elizabeth was kidnapped and Beck knocked unconscious. By the time he woke up, his wife had been discovered dead, and horribly mutilated. For eight years he grieves. Then one afternoon, he receives an anonymous e-mail telling him to log on to a certain web-site at a certain time, using a code that only the two of them knew. The screen opens onto…

Delafield: A Kate Delafield Mystery

By Katherine V. Forrest,

Book cover of Delafield: A Kate Delafield Mystery

Why this book?

There’s a freeway sign on the way to Palm Springs that directs you to “Other Desert Cities.” I love that sign because it so captures the desert, and so does Katherine V. Forrest in her 10th installment of a Kate Delafield mystery. Brought out of retirement by threats from an innocent woman she put in jail when she was a cop, Delafield must marshal her defenses and her feelings to return to the arid tranquility she thought she’d found.

Delafield: A Kate Delafield Mystery

By Katherine V. Forrest,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The most celebrated detective in lesbian literature returns in the most fateful case of her career…

“Kate,” Detective Joe Cameron said, “there was always the possibility—”

“—that like most threats they were just threats,” Kate finished for him. She knew better. Had known from the start this was as real as death.

Death is now on her doorstep. Not even her loyal LAPD colleagues can protect her from an attack that may come from anywhere, anytime.

Four years retired, Kate Delafield has a twenty-year old case roaring back on her, a case from which she had recoiled, withdrawn herself. A…


Book cover of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me

Why this book?

These stories were picked out by the master of suspense, himself, Alfred Hitchcock. These stories are both horrific and suspenseful. With tales involving a flesh-eating troll, something creepy lurking about in the woods that kills anything that comes into its path, and an uninvited odd boy that comes to a party with evil intentions, one will not be able to put this book down. It might even make you want to leave the lights on during the night.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me

By Alfred Hitchcock (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published by Random House. Per the dust jacket: ...twenty-three stories, a novelette, and a novel guaranteed to turn your hair white overnight." Stories selected by Mr. Hitchcock include: Casablanca by Thomas M. Disch, Fishhead by Irvin S. Cobb, Camera Obscura by Basil Copper, A Death in the Family by Miriam Allen deFord, Men Without Bones by Gerald Kersh, Not With a Bang by Damon Knight, Party Games by John Burke, X Marks the Pedwalk by Fritz Leiber, Curious Adventure of Mr. Bond by Nugent Barker, Two Spinsters by E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Knife by Robert Arthur, The Cage by Ray…

The Nakano Thrift Shop

By Hiromi Kawakami, Allison Markin Powell (translator),

Book cover of The Nakano Thrift Shop

Why this book?

This book is very personal to me as I have so many special memories rummaging and exploring through the shelves at Nakano Broadway during my time living in Japan. Each gossip-themed chapter had me laughing at points as I discovered more about the characters through their habits and charms. This cozy book is one for that nostalgic, Sunday afternoon feeling. 

The Nakano Thrift Shop

By Hiromi Kawakami, Allison Markin Powell (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Among the jumble of paperweights, plates, typewriters and general bric-a-brac in Mr Nakano's thrift store, there are treasures to be found. Each piece carries its own story of love and loss - or so it seems to Hitomi, when she takes a job there working behind the till. Nor are her fellow employees any less curious or weatherworn than the items they sell. There's the store's owner, Mr Nakano, an enigmatic ladies' man with several ex-wives; Sakiko, his sensuous, unreadable lover; his sister, Masayo, an artist whose free-spirited creations mask hidden sorrows. And finally there's Hitomi's fellow employee, Takeo, whose…

The Alloy of Law

By Brandon Sanderson,

Book cover of The Alloy of Law

Why this book?

This book combined the old west with a very thought-out magic system that enhanced the setting. The humor was sometimes tear-drawingly funny for me. The characters seemed alive, complex, and independent. The world seemed real and tangible if not quite like our world. The magic also had a refreshing take and allows for infinite speculation on how the powers might cross-combine. It also had moments of monumental exercises of power as well as monumental limits on powers complicating the storyline.

The Alloy of Law

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to…


The Holiday Swap

By Maggie Knox,

Book cover of The Holiday Swap

Why this book?

This was simply a fun book. I watch a lot of baking shows, so when I saw that the setting involved both a reality cooking show and a bakery, I knew I was in my element. After an accident on set that leaves one twin sister unable to taste, she needs to swap places with her sister to save the show. This, of course, leads to all sorts of misunderstandings that make the story fast-paced and fun. As a warning, this book will make you hungry, especially for fresh-baked bread.

The Holiday Swap

By Maggie Knox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The International Bestseller—A feel-good, holiday rom com about identical twins who swap lives twelve days before Christmas—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze and Josie Silver’s One Day in December
 
All they want for Christmas is a different life.

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie's identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint…

Dark Screams: Volume Five

By Brian James Freeman (editor), Richard Chizmar (editor), Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Bentley Little, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James

Book cover of Dark Screams: Volume Five

Why this book?

This little gem of an anthology is shorter than most I read but boy is it packed with superstars in horror. But the story that stands out here is "The Playhouse" by Bentley Little. I could have included his own collections here, and you should consider reading them, but this unique tale really stands out in a solid anthology, so I wanted to recommend this. Bentley Little has always been one of my influences even though I came across him later in my horror journey. His no-nonsense storytelling drags readers in quick and takes them along for the ride. In this a realtor discovers a playhouse on a property she is to show, and everything goes wrong from there. While a horror tale, it also deals with vestiges of youth and the passage of time. A truly remarkable tale.

Dark Screams: Volume Five

By Brian James Freeman (editor), Richard Chizmar (editor), Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Bentley Little, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mick Garris, J. Kenner, Kealan Patrick Burke, Del James, and Bentley Little pry open a sarcophagus of horror and dread in Dark Screams: Volume Five, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the esteemed Cemetery Dance Publications.
 
EVERYTHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED by Mick Garris
It was supposed to be the night of his life: a celebration of his one hit slasher flick. But the price of admission is higher than this has-been filmmaker ever could have imagined.
 
THE ONE AND ONLY by J. Kenner
When he was seven, Will Underwood’s nanny told him she had the Sight. Years later,…

The Humans

By Matt Haig,

Book cover of The Humans

Why this book?

The Humans is one of those rare books that I had to hug after I finished it. Literally. Luckily I wasn’t reading it in public as there was possibly some happy squeaking involved, too. The story revolves around an alien who has been sent to Earth and tasked with finding out how far a mathematician’s potentially dangerous research has got, and who else knows about it. Initially, the alien is horrified by humans and all their emotional and physical needs, but as he learns more about us – more about what it is to be so messily, chaotically human – he also learns the beauty and magic of it. Smart, funny, and quite simply lovely.

The Humans

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. OR IS THERE?

After an 'incident' one wet Friday night where he is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, Professor Andrew Martin is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst an alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog.

Who is he really? And what could make someone change their mind about the human race . . . ?


Book cover of All Will Be Well: A Memoir

Why this book?

John McGahern’s Memoir is a chronological narrative of his experiences in County Leitrim Ireland from the age of three. His continuous prose of detailed descriptions of places, people, and incidents combined with the child’s voice create a brutal home and school environment from which his only escape is the beauty of the local landscape. His contrasting depiction of his brutal father and loving mother resurrects my parents’ behaviour. He uses the most effective order of words to create a gripping narrative to represent Irish family silence. John’s precise style creates an addictive tension hooking me to every word where I am left to ponder on what is not said. John’s narration of his experiences encouraged me to partially adopt his approach in my own memoir.

All Will Be Well: A Memoir

By John McGahern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Will Be Well as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From award-winning author John McGahern, a memoir of his childhood in the Irish countryside and the beginnings of his life as a writer.

McGahern describes his early years as one of seven children growing up in rural County Leitrim, a childhood was marked by his father’s violent nature and the early death of his beloved mother. Tracing the memories of home through both people and place, McGahern details family life and the beginnings of a writing career that would take him far from home, and then back again. Haunting and illuminating, All Will Be Well is an unforgettable portrait of…


The Woman on the Bench

By Eliot Stevens,

Book cover of The Woman on the Bench

Why this book?

Not only is this a great story but I think it’s beautifully written, even more exceptional because this is Stevens’ debut. Quite often, psychological thrillers are such page-turners, the reader doesn’t properly appreciate the words. I think that Elliot Stevens achieves both literary finesse and fast-paced action in this book. Set in London and the south of England, it’s tightly woven with an original premise, and as a bonus, has a fabulous twist at the end. Mark and Cecilia seem to have the perfect life, until he meets Alice. But he can’t leave Cecilia because she knows too much…

The Woman on the Bench

By Eliot Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Woman on the Bench as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At last, Mark has found the perfect woman. There’s just one small problem – his wife.

Married couple Mark and Cecilia seem to have it all – looks, wealth, love. But behind closed doors, things are very different – they live in silent resentment, their marriage broken by the shattering loss of the child they so desperately wanted.

Enter Alice – Mark’s idea of the perfect woman. She appears from nowhere and offers Mark the chance of a new life filled with love, passion, and – finally – the joys of parenthood. Everything he’s ever dreamed of.

But there’s a…

Bloodline

By Sharon Francis,

Book cover of Bloodline

Why this book?

Well written and intriguing from the first word. Ms. Francis has created questions to be solved by the protagonist and audience. It is a slow burn that draws you in. Just as I got comfortable with a blossoming romance something happens to upset things and although we can guess at where the plot is going, we are not always right. Like a fish on a hook, we are teased and played with until we discover the truth, which leads us to an action-packed dramatic ending.

Bloodline

By Sharon Francis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tony Viscount is a widower, a father and a restaurateur but has no idea where he came from, so helping his young son, Jamie, complete a family tree could be fun for both of them. But Tony doesn’t expect the tale of terror he uncovers, or that it could have followed him into the present.

What he discovers will change his life forever.

Assuming he gets to live it...