The best books about journalists

48 authors have picked their favorite books about journalists and why they recommend each book.

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Revolutionary Ride

By Lois Pryce,

Book cover of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road to Shiraz, the Heart of Iran

I include this refreshing travel memoir for escapism – something to be savoured as well as to stretch the mind. Written by an open-minded British author, it describes her solo trip around the Islamic Republic on a motorcycle. By turns entertaining, amusing and full of love for a country and people of which she had no knowledge beyond Western propaganda, it is brilliantly written. Pryce challenges her own assumptions, widens her perspective and has a blast in an engrossing, compelling, easy-to-read travelogue.


Who am I?

Aryanne Oade works as a chartered psychologist, executive coach, and author of eight books. She has over thirty years’ experience in guiding clients through the challenge of complex workplace dynamics, and specialises in enabling detoxification and recovery from workplace bullying. Author of the best-selling award-winner Free Yourself from Workplace Bullying: Become Bully-Proof and Regain Control of Your Life, Aryanne’s work and books have been featured in The Independent, Sunday Independent (Ireland), Psychologies, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, The Belfast Telegraph, HR Magazine, Safety & Health Practitioner, SHP Online, Nursing Times, and Midwives.


I wrote...

Bullying in Teams: How to Survive It and Thrive

By Aryanne Oade,

Book cover of Bullying in Teams: How to Survive It and Thrive

What is my book about?

A compassionate practical guide to retaining your dignity when bullied in a team setting, speaking up for a colleague who is attacked in front of you, preventing a bully from controlling you or your team, and developing a bully-proof mindset.

Learn how to protect yourself from the sometimes devastating impact of bullying in your team. Develop the skills and resilience you need to confront bullying behaviour, and discover how to retain your personal power under pressure during an attack. Learn how to speak out effectively and avoid becoming a passive enabler or an active colluder should you witness a team colleague being targeted. Rediscover your self-confidence and renew your self-belief after team bullying.

Disappeared

By June Carolyn Erlick,

Book cover of Disappeared: A Journalist Silenced

June Carolyn Erlick, editor-in-chief for ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, casts a seasoned journalist’s eye on the 1980 abduction of  Guatemalan journalist Irma Flaquer. Returning home, Flaquer was pulled from her car and was never seen again. Flaquer, a popular and respected journalist with an influential column, Lo Que Otros Callan or "What Others Don't Dare Write",  was also the founder of the first Guatemalan Human Rights Commission. Throughout her career, Flaquer survived beatings, car bombs, and drive-by assassination attempts that did not daunt her from doing her job as a reporter to expose Guatemalan suffering at the hands of their corrupt U.S.-backed government and the cost the Guatemalan people paid as Cold War pawns.


Who am I?

K. Lee Lerner is an author, editor, and producer of science and factual media, including four editions of the Gale Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. His expansive writing on science, climate change, disasters, disease, and global issues has earned multiple book and media awards, including books named Outstanding Academic Titles. An aviator, sailor, and member of the National Press Club in Washington, his two global circumnavigations and portfolio of work in challenging and dangerous environments reveal a visceral drive to explore and investigate. With a public intellectual's broad palate and a scientist's regard for evidence-based analysis, Lerner dissects and accessibly explains complex issues. 

I wrote...

Government, Politics, and Protest: Essential Primary Sources

By K. Lee Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, Adrienne Wilmoth Lerner

Book cover of Government, Politics, and Protest: Essential Primary Sources

What is my book about?

Part of the Essential Primary Source series by K. Lee Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, et al., that critics described as well-written, thoughtful and cogent. Individual volumes topically related to issues provide historical context and insights into people, places, and issues still dominating news headlines as well as the scholars, journalists and other experts who document history in the making. The series covers Terrorism; Medicine, Health, and Bioethics; Environmental Issues; Crime and Punishment;  Government, Politics, and Protest; Gender Issues and Sexuality; Human and Civil Rights; Immigration and Multiculturalism; Social Policy, and more.

Underneath the Lemon Tree

By Mark Rice-Oxley,

Book cover of Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression and Recovery

What I love about this book is the journey it takes you on, from despair to hope. At the start of the book, Mark is at the height of anguish with his depression. You read about what he did to start his recovery process; what worked and what didn’t, what he did wrong and what he got right. It gives you hope that you can make a similar journey and hope is the antidote to depression because it’s the main thing it takes from you, so it’s the main thing you need to find and cling on to; even the smallest amount of hope helps.


Who am I?

I’m a Brighton based writer. I’ve lived with bloody depression and frigging anxiety, since a child. I’m the founder of The Recovery Letters project, which publishes online letters from people recovering from depression, addressed to those experiencing it. It was published as a book in 2017 and Cosmopolitan named it "One of the 12 mental health books everyone should read". I also edited What I Do to Get Through: How to Run, Swim, Cycle, Sew, or Sing Your Way Through DepressionMy fourth book, How to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off, is due out in 2022.


I wrote...

How To Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back

By James Withey,

Book cover of How To Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back

What is my book about?

Trying to manage the range of symptoms that depression throws at you is like navigating the dark ocean floor when you are without a torch and don't know how to swim. How do you manage something that feels utterly unmanageable? How do you get through each day when depression is telling you you're a worthless lump of camel spleen? What you need is a guide. A really good one. You need to know what works and what to do.

This book gives you 40 ways to get to a better place with depression. They are born out of the author's personal experience of clinical depression and his many years of working as a counsellor helping people with their mental health. James lives with depression and knows its lies, the traps it makes and how to dodge when it starts spitting bile in your face. Nice, eh?

The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell

By George Orwell, Sonia Orwell (editor), Ian Angus (editor)

Book cover of The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell

This is a four-volume collection. First, because the first thing you should read about Orwell should be by him. Second because by getting away from the more famous stuff - Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm especially – the essays, journalism, and letters get you closer to the life he lived. The inside cover says I bought them in January 1973. I remember reading out extracts to my girlfriend in bed in wintry Leyton. Make of that what you will, but the three of us are still together. Sonia Brownell was Orwell’s second wife. Ian Angus is an Orwell scholar, librarian, and founder of the Orwell Archive at UCL.


Who am I?

I was first introduced to George Orwell on 30 October 1969 when I bought the Penguin Road to Wigan Pier at Sussex University bookshop. The light blue sticker on the inside verifies time and place. The price shows that I was willing to fork out as much as 4 shillings, (or two days worth of cigarettes) for one of the most enduring friendships of my life.


I wrote...

George Orwell: English Rebel

By Robert Colls,

Book cover of George Orwell: English Rebel

What is my book about?

Well, with all due respect to the great man, I try to see him not as a great man but as a jobbing writer trying to get a hearing. He said as much himself although, of course, that was before he was great. Given his fame, it took a bit of cheek on my part to take him down a peg or two, but the courage came from him, who showed me how. Orwell is that rare bird, an inimitable writer who you can actually learn from.

George Orwell

By Bernard Crick,

Book cover of George Orwell: A Life

Although he instructed that no one should write his biography, Orwell has had many superb biographers including Taylor (2003) and Bowker (2003), and his close friends Richard Rees, Fugitive from the Camp of Victory (1961), and George Woodcock, The Crystal Spirit (1966).  John Rodden has written widely on Orwell’s reputation. However, the best full-scale biography remains the first, by Bernard Crick. Sonia commissioned it, then rejected it, but I like it because Crick knows more about politics than the others and, in the end, Orwell was a political writer.


Who am I?

I was first introduced to George Orwell on 30 October 1969 when I bought the Penguin Road to Wigan Pier at Sussex University bookshop. The light blue sticker on the inside verifies time and place. The price shows that I was willing to fork out as much as 4 shillings, (or two days worth of cigarettes) for one of the most enduring friendships of my life.


I wrote...

George Orwell: English Rebel

By Robert Colls,

Book cover of George Orwell: English Rebel

What is my book about?

Well, with all due respect to the great man, I try to see him not as a great man but as a jobbing writer trying to get a hearing. He said as much himself although, of course, that was before he was great. Given his fame, it took a bit of cheek on my part to take him down a peg or two, but the courage came from him, who showed me how. Orwell is that rare bird, an inimitable writer who you can actually learn from.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

By Charles M. Blow,

Book cover of Fire Shut Up in My Bones

With polished language and measured pace, Blow tells a fascinating coming-of-age story of growing up in a small Louisiana town. As the youngest in a family of five boys raised by a schoolteacher mother, with the help of her extended family, he unveils his struggles with sexual identity and masculinity.

Who am I?

I was raised with my seven siblings on Bernard Street in Mill Creek Valley—454 acres in downtown St. Louis, which comprised the nation's largest urban-renewal project beginning in 1959. I started writing short stories about my childhood memories of the dying African-American community after retiring at age 66. The Last Children of Mill Creek was published when I was 70 years old. This memoir is about survival, as told from the viewpoint of a watchful young girl -- a collection of decidedly universal stories that chronicle the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.


I wrote...

The Last Children of Mill Creek

By Vivian Gibson,

Book cover of The Last Children of Mill Creek

What is my book about?

Vivian Gibson grew up in Mill Creek Valley, a segregated working-class neighborhood of St. Louis that was razed in 1959 to build a highway, an act of racism disguised under urban renewal as “progress.” The three rooms of her childhood home were heated by a wood-burning stove; her family had no hot water or furnace, but what Gibson lacked in material comforts she made up for in imagination. A moving memoir of family life at a time very different from the present, The Last Children of Mill Creek chronicles the everyday lived experiences of Gibson’s large family -- her seven siblings, her crafty, college-educated mother, and her hard-working father -- and the friends, shop owners, church ladies, teachers, and others who made Mill Creek into a warm, tight-knit African-American community.

In Gibson’s words, “This memoir is about survival, as told from the viewpoint of a watchful young girl -- a collection of decidedly universal stories that chronicle the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.”

Another Day of Life

By Ryszard Kapuściński, William R. Brand (translator), Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand (translator)

Book cover of Another Day of Life

OK, this one has nothing to do with a heroic youth, although I’m sure there was no shortage of them during the Angolan Civil War in 1975. This is quite simply my favorite book about Africa. As a career journalist, I can appreciate the courage necessary for Kapuscinski to continue reporting in war-torn Angola when most other journalists had long fled. He is remarkably dogged in pursuing this important story that would affect the world well beyond Angola’s borders. Assuming his reporting is accurate (the veracity of Kapuscinski’s work has been questioned since his death in 2007) this book is among the most stirring examples of fearless reportage ever written.


Who am I?

For most of my life I have been fascinated by Africa, but I could never figure out a good reason to go there. Then one day in 2010 while delivering a book talk in North Carolina, a gentleman approached me afterward saying that he’d read a brief item in a missionary newsletter that morning and he thought it might make “a good story” for me. Six months later, I was on a flight to Uganda and that “good story” was born as a magazine piece before evolving into a book and finally in 2016 into a Disney movie. I have since traveled to Africa many times and it is a magical place, my home away from home.  


I wrote...

The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion

By Tim Crothers,

Book cover of The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion

What is my book about?

To be African is to be an underdog in the world. To be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa. To be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda. To be a girl is to be an underdog in Katwe.

Phiona Mutesi is the ultimate underdog. Growing up in Kampala’s Katwe slum, she lost her father to AIDS as a young child and dropped out of school to sell maize on the streets. She did not know how to read or write when a former Ugandan war refugee turned missionary, Robert Katende, introduced Phiona to chess, a game so foreign to her that there is no word for it in her native language. Katende quickly realized that Phiona had an innate talent for the game and after a few years, against all odds, Katende would coach Phiona to become an international chess champion.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

By Hunter S. Thompson,

Book cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in college and it blew my mind. I’d never read anything like this outrageous tale of a journalist in search of the American Dream. The plot: Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone send Thompson to Las Vegas to cover, respectively, a motorcycle race and a district attorneys convention. Thompson, high on hallucinogenic drugs and ether, and with his attorney in tow, takes the notion of “new journalism” into a hilarious new dimension. Thompson was the kind of journalist I wanted to be: a truth-teller who made his own rules. I’ve since read the book about 25 times and it’s made me laugh every time.


Who am I?

I’m a Brooklyn-born writer of what’s now called “creative nonfiction,” and whatever literary success I’ve had, I attribute in part to having studied the works of Hunter S. Thompson, Henry Miller, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, and Joseph Heller. I’ve assimilated their voices and used them as guides to help me find my own voice. Read any of my books and you’ll find subtle (and at times not so subtle) echoes of this Holy Quintet. My latest book, A Brooklyn Memoir, is in part an homage to Miller’s Black Spring.


I wrote...

A Brooklyn Memoir: My Life as a Boy

By Robert Rosen,

Book cover of A Brooklyn Memoir: My Life as a Boy

What is my book about?

A Brooklyn Memoir is an unsentimental journey through mid-century Flatbush, where Auschwitz survivors and WWII vets lived side by side and the war lingered like a mass hallucination.

Meet Bobby, a local kid who shares a shabby apartment with his status-conscious mother and bigoted father, a soda jerk haunted by memories of the Nazi death camp he helped liberate. Flatbush, to Bobby, is a world of brawls with neighborhood “punks” and Hebrew school tales of Adolf Eichmann’s daring capture. Drawn to images of mushroom clouds and books about executions, Bobby turns the hatred he senses everywhere against himself, but ultimately transcends the toxic forces that surround him. From a perch in his father’s candy store, Bobby provides a darkly comic child’s-eye view of postwar America.

The Poet

By Michael Connelly,

Book cover of The Poet

Mr. Connelly’s career started out as a crime beat reporter for newspapers in Florida and in Los Angeles. He’s most known for his Harry Bosch, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Renee Ballard crime novel series. But he’s also known for his Jack McEvoy, crime reporter series.

Jack McEvoy’s twin brother is found dead in his car from a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head--an Edgar Allen Poe quote smeared on the windshield. Jack doesn’t believe that his brother killed himself and while investigating, gets caught up with the FBI who are looking into a serial killer.

This was a departure for Michael Connelly and the book, while very well written, is not for the faint of heart.


Who am I?

I’m the author of the critically acclaimed Geneva Chase Crime Reporter series. I live and write on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina with my wife, Cindy, and Annie, our Shih-Tzu. I’ve had a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York, and I’m currently working on my next novel. 


I wrote...

Random Road

By Thomas Kies,

Book cover of Random Road

What is my book about?

Veteran reporter Geneva Chase is at the end of her professional rope. Battling alcoholism and bad choices, she's lost every major news job she's had; working at her hometown newspaper is her last chance to redeem herself—and now the paper's future is in doubt.

And then she lands the story of a lifetime: Six nude bodies are found hacked to pieces in a Queen Anne mansion on the coast of Long Island Sound. The sensational headline is picked up by the metro papers, and Geneva is back in the game. As her grisly investigation leads her deeper into dangerous waters, her toxic affair with a married man and her inability to get sober threaten to undo everything she has worked so hard to achieve.

The Good Girls Revolt

By Lynn Povich,

Book cover of The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

The book takes place beginning in the 1960s – a time of economic strength and cultural change. An increasing number of young, educated women entered the workforce, yet the newspaper help wanted ads were segregated by gender and the discrimination was common. In the midst of this time, Lynn Povich was hired at Newsweek, renowned for its strong coverage of civil rights and the changing social mores. But in reality, the job was a career dead end. Women researchers only occasionally became reporters, very rarely writers, and never editors. The limitations for women journalists were obvious.

Then in March 1970, Newsweek published a cover story about the Women’s Liberation Movement called “Women in Revolt”. It was at the time that more than 40 Newsweek women charged the magazine with employment discrimination. Povich was one of the plaintiffs. In the book, Povich details the lives of several lawsuit participants. She…


Who am I?

I am driven to tell the stories of important but often forgotten women journalists from the 1940s through the 1970s. They were pioneers who also created deep connections in their communities. Over the past few years, I have published several books about women in mass media. My 2014 book documented the history of newspaper food editors– an often powerful and political position held almost exclusively by women. My third book, Women Politicking Politely looked at the experiences of pioneering women’s editors and women in politics which allows for a better perspective of women in journalism today and adds to women’s history scholarship.


I wrote...

Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s

By Kimberly Voss,

Book cover of Women Politicking Politely: Advancing Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s

What is my book about?

This book includes the relatively unknown stories of six important women who laid the foundation for improving women's equality in the U.S. While they largely worked behind the scenes, they made a significant impact. In the group are two female political operatives who worked behind the scenes along with four female journalists who also occasionally worked within government to advance women's rights during the 1950s through the 1970s. Much of it centers on Washington, D.C., as well as the more unlikely cities of Madison, Wisconsin and Miami, Florida. It includes the story of a women’s page journalist who published an official government report in her newspaper section when the White House refused to release it.

This book documents the stories of women who organized to help gain employment for other women and also worked to raise the stature of homemakers. 

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