100 Best Alcoholism Books of All Time

We've researched and ranked the best alcoholism books in the world, based on recommendations from world experts, sales data, and millions of reader ratings. Learn more

Featuring recommendations from Bill Gates, Adam Savage, Barack Obama, and 61 other experts.
1

The Glass Castle

A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how...
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2
Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, with a foreword from Jaqueline Woodson.
Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the...
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Recommended by Rand Fishkin, and 1 others.

Rand FishkinEmpathy is at the core of my beliefs, and this is one of the best books I’ve ever read that fosters empathetic thinking. It’s also a great reminder of how hard it is to accomplish anything when your life circumstances and surroundings negatively contribute to progress and a great reminder to stay humble. (Source)

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3

The Girl on the Train

An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now...
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Recommended by Barack Obama, and 1 others.

Barack ObamaJust like us, the president enjoys a good beach read while relaxing in the sun. In 2016, he released his list of summer vacation books: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan H Is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins Seveneves, Neal Stephenson The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Source)

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4

Where the Crawdads Sing

A novel about a young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She's barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes...
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Recommended by Reese Witherspoon, Kris Crocker, and 2 others.

Reese WitherspoonGreat article about the success of Where the Crawdads Sing. Did you read the book? ⁦@ReesesBookClub⁩ 🤗 https://t.co/w1ZgQLRzsx (Source)

Kris Crocker@spokanelibrary I love this book!! (Source)

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5
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story...
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Bill GatesThe disadvantaged world of poor white Appalachia described in this terrific, heartbreaking book is one that I know only vicariously. Vance was raised largely by his loving but volatile grandparents, who stepped in after his father abandoned him and his mother showed little interest in parenting her son. Against all odds, he survived his chaotic, impoverished childhood only to land at Yale Law... (Source)

Ryan HolidayIn terms of other surprising memoirs, I found JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy to be another well-written gem. (Source)

Ben ShapiroA very well-written book. [...] The whole thing is a critique of individual decisions. (Source)

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6

Alcoholics Anonymous

It's more than a book. It's a way of life.

Alcoholics Anonymous-The Big Book-has served as a lifeline to millions worldwide. First published in 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease. With publication of the second edition in 1955, the third edition in 1976, and now the fourth edition in 2001, the essential recovery text has remained unchanged while personal stories have been added to reflect the growing and diverse fellowship. The long-awaited fourth...

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7

The Shining

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. less
Recommended by Daisy Johnson, R J Ellory, and 2 others.

Daisy JohnsonIf you think you know the story because you’ve seen the film then you’d be wrong. This book is an absolute classic and a great way into the vast King oeuvre. (Source)

R J ElloryI have always rated Stephen King. I think he is so much more than just a commercially successful horror writer. (Source)

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8

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with... more
Recommended by Stephen Dubner, Tracy Chevalier, and 2 others.

Stephen DubnerI read it over and over in part because I felt it was describing to me what my parents’ life was like when they were kids. (Source)

Tracy ChevalierIt’s about an Irish-American family living in Brooklyn at the beginning of the 20th century. (Source)

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9

Doctor Sleep

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal,...
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Recommended by Devon Sawa, and 1 others.

Devon Sawa@AaronFlux @flanaganfilm This makes me so happy to hear. I can’t wait to love the movie as much as the book. (Source)

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10
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set... more

Bill GatesAs a longtime fan of The Daily Show, I loved reading this memoir about how its host honed his outsider approach to comedy over a lifetime of never quite fitting in. Born to a black South African mother and a white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa, he entered the world as a biracial child in a country where mixed race relationships were forbidden. Much of Noah’s story of growing up in South... (Source)

Mark SusterPlease don't read @Trevornoah's book "Born a Crime." It's such a remarkable story that you need to hear him narrate it on @audible_com. You'll laugh out loud, cry, get angry, be in disbelief. You'll have many "driveway moments" where you can't stop even though you're home (Source)

Heather ZynczakSo excited for our latest speaker announcement for #PSLIVE19! Trevor Noah! I am a huge @TheDailyShow fan! And his book -Born a Crime -and life story are amazing. Can't wait! Join us! https://t.co/N6ykJq7TOy https://t.co/r0dIx5RFVI (Source)

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Don't have time to read the top Alcoholism books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

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  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
11
Also see: Alternate Cover Editions for this ISBN [ACE]
ACE #1

This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games—games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but...
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12

Dry

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his... more

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13

Drinking

A Love Story

The roots of alcoholism in the life of a brilliant daughter of an upper-class family are explored in this stylistic, literary memoir of drinking by a Massachusetts journalist.

Caroline Knapp describes how the distorted world of her well-to-do parents pushed her toward anorexia and alcoholism. Fittingly, it was literature that saved her: she found inspiration in Pete Hamill's 'A Drinking Life' and sobered up. Her tale is spiced up with the characters she has known along the way.

A journalist describes her twenty years as a functioning alcoholic, explaining how she used...
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14
Imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion. This is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."

So begins the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in...
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15
Alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure" for Sarah Hepola. She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.

But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should have been. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin....
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16

Daisy Jones & The Six

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band's album Aurora came to define the rock 'n' roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group's split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock 'n' roll she loves most....
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Recommended by Brandi Rhodes, Mary Burkey, and 2 others.

Brandi RhodesThat was the best Q/A everrrrr. Now on to reading. Highly recommend this book it’s been 🔥🔥🔥 (Colby put his paw in the pic). https://t.co/R09SNU9xa2 (Source)

Mary BurkeyOh my God, I love that book so much. (Source)

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17

Sharp Objects

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants... more
Recommended by Jessica Northeyshaw, and 1 others.

Jessica Northeyshaw@TheBrandyClark It's awesome! Did you read the book? It's super twisted and dark. Enjoy! 😘 (Source)

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18
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another...
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Recommended by Twinkle Khanna, and 1 others.

Twinkle KhannaEleanor is awkward, funny, an alcoholic and clearly not fine. A great book for someone who wants to get over a reading slump. Loved it! #mustread #eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine #TweakIt https://t.co/fVQu4sYhSi (Source)

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19
In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man's journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then,...
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20

Fangirl

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from...
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Recommended by Ashley C. Ford, Laura Wood, and 2 others.

Ashley C. Ford@ALNL I love this book (Source)

Laura WoodA powerful and moving story about identical twins trying to find their individual identities outside of their own powerful relationship. (Source)

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Don't have time to read the top Alcoholism books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
21

The Good House

How can you prove you're not an alcoholic?

You can't.

It's like trying to prove you're not a witch.

Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of an historic community on the rocky coast of Boston's North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. Hildy is a descendant of one of the witches hung in nearby Salem, and is believed, by some, to have inherited psychic gifts. Not true, of course; she's just good at reading people. Hildy is good at lots of things. A successful real-estate broker, mother and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights...
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Recommended by Rob Delaney, and 1 others.

Rob DelaneySigourney Weaver & Kevin Kline are reuniting & they’ve invited us lot along👇🏼Beyond excited. I must also recommend the amazing book this film is based on, The Good House by the brilliant @annleary. https://t.co/RZkMy4zctt https://t.co/IIX5rywz01 (Source)

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22
"Hearts are broken," Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. "Sweet relationships are dead."

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara's solo show at the famed Musée in Montréal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Québec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there...
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23

The Woman in the Window

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade's most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-five languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. It isn't paranoia if it's really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone--a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies,...
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24

For One More Day

"Every family is a ghost story..."

Mitch Albom mesmerized readers around the world with his number one New York Times bestsellers, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie. Now he returns with a beautiful, haunting novel about the family we love and the chances we miss.

For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

As a child, Charley "Chick"...
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25

The Impossible Knife of Memory

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and...
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26

A Million Little Pieces

Intense, unpredictable, and instantly engaging, A Million Little Pieces is a story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation as it has never been told before. Recounted in visceral, kinetic prose, and crafted with a forthrightness that rejects piety, cynicism, and self-pity, it brings us face-to-face with a provocative new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.

By the time he entered a drug and alcohol treatment facility, James Frey had taken his addictions to near-deadly extremes. He had so thoroughly ravaged his body that the facilityís...
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Recommended by James Altucher, Ella Botting, and 2 others.

Ella BottingThe book is a semi-fictional novel/ memoir that reflects on Frey’s battle with addiction. His story really hit home with me, he reached rock-bottom which I think I have or nearly have on a number of occasions, and overcame it. I really resonate with those kind of stories (another book is Scar Tissue), they stay with me and inspire me daily. When I feel burnt out, I think of Frey’s journey and it... (Source)

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27

Lit

The New York Times bestseller, now available in paperback—Mary Karr’s sequel to the beloved and bestselling The Liars’ Club and Cherry “lassos you, hogties your emotions and won’t let you go” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times).

Mary Karr’s bestselling, unforgettable sequel to her beloved memoirs The Liars’ Club and Cherry—and one of the most critically acclaimed books of the year—Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live.

The Boston Globe calls Lit a book that “reminds us not only how...
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28

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
 
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?
 
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.
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29

The Paris Wife

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F....
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Recommended by Wai Chee Dimock, and 1 others.

Wai Chee DimockThis book is told in the first person, in the voice of Hadley. In that way it’s a good complement to Monique Truong’s book, which is told in the voice of the cook. Paula McLain did a good job in terms of historical research, and in fleshing out Hadley’s psychology. (Source)

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30

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and...
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Don't have time to read the top Alcoholism books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
31

Burned (Burned, #1)

I do know things really began to spin out of control after my first sex dream.

It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious—yet abusive—family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation.

This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly...
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32

There There

Tommy Orange's wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle's death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American--grappling with... more
Recommended by Barack Obama, and 1 others.

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

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33

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Alternate-cover edition for ISBN 0916856011 / 9780916856014 can be found here

Originally published in 1952, this classic book is used by A.A. members and groups around the world. Bill W.'s 24 essays on the Steps and the Traditions discuss the principles by which A.A. members recover and by which the fellowship functions. The basic text clarifies the Steps which constitute the A.A. way of life and the Traditions, by which A.A. maintains its unity.
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34

Adult Children of Alcoholics

In the 1980's, Janet Woititz broke new ground in our understanding of what it is to be an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. In this updated edition of her bestseller she re-examines the movement and its inclusion of Adult Children from various dysfunctional family backgrounds who share the same characteristics. After decades of working with ACoAs she shares the recovery hints that she has found to work. Read Adult Children of Alcoholics to see where the journey began and for ideas on where to go from here. less

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35

Wishful Drinking

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. "But it isn't all sweetness and light sabres." Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It's an incredible tale—from having Elizabeth Taylor as a... more

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36
This Naked Mind has ignited a movement across the country, helping thousands of people forever change their relationship with alcohol.

Many people question whether drinking has become too big a part of their lives, and worry that it may even be affecting their health. But, they resist change because they fear losing the pleasure and stress-relief associated with alcohol, and assume giving it up will involve deprivation and misery.

This Naked Mind offers a new, positive solution. Here, Annie Grace clearly presents the psychological and neurological...
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37

Last Night I Sang to the Monster

Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He's also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. He's not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive - well, what's up with that?

I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts he writes Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some...
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38

Genesis Begins Again

A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Correta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award
A Morris Award Finalist
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are ninety-six things Genesis...
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Recommended by Krishna Grady, and 1 others.

Krishna GradyGenesis Begins Again, we would say, is for 12 years and up. This book is definitely hard-hitting. The book tells the story of a 13-year-old called Genesis, who deals with colorism, self-loathing and problems like her father’s gambling and alcoholism. It’s just a really, really powerful book that I think kids in this age range haven’t really seen before. It really opened up questions and we... (Source)

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39

The Secret History

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil. less

Kelly Ellis@elanpin @Nicole_Cliffe Like a favorite song, just thinking about this book immediately takes me back to the point in my life when I first read it. I really enjoyed The Goldfinch, as well. (Source)

Jess Brammar@StigAbell Love that book (Source)

Dave ChildIn my 20s, it would have been The Secret History by Donna Tartt. It's a shame you can only read a book for the first time once, because this doesn't fare so well the second time around, when you already know what happens. I'm not sure I've found another book quite like it since, but then I'm not really sure what sort of book it is. It isn't a murder mystery, except when it is. It isn't a crime... (Source)

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40
Winner of the Books for a Better Life Award in the First Book category | Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, "I am an alcoholic," to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw. Now, in BETWEEN BREATHS, Vargas discusses her accounts of growing up with anxiety-which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam-and how she dealt with this anxiety as she came of age, to her eventually turning to...
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41

Under the Volcano

"Lowry's masterpiece...has a claim to being regarded as one of the ten most consequential works of fiction produced in [the twentieth] century." — Los Angeles Times

Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. His debilitating malaise is drinking, an activity that has overshadowed his life. On the most fateful day of the consul's life—the Day of the Dead—his wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of...
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Robin RobertsonAn incredibly moving cautionary tale. (Source)

Robin RobertsonAn incredibly moving cautionary tale. (Source)

Hugh ThomsonThere was a syndrome in the 1920s and 30s of British writers writing about Mexico – Lawrence, Waugh, Huxley, Greene. But Malcolm Lowry was one of the few English writers who actually spent quite a lot of time in the country. Graham Greene was only there for five weeks or so before writing his novel, but Lowry got under the skin of Mexico in a way that few of his contemporaries did. (Source)

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42

Z

A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

A dazzling novel that captures all of the romance, glamour, and tragedy of the first flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame.

Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after...
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43
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot less

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44

The Great Alone

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future...
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45

Vanishing Acts

Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can't recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it." In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth - even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you... more

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46

The Liars' Club

When it was published in 1995, Mary Karr's The Liars Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr's comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger's—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. Now with a new introduction that discusses her memoir's impact on her family, this unsentimental and profoundly moving... more

Adam Savage[The author's] first memoir. (Source)

Calvin TrillinIt’s one of my favourite memoirs. (Source)

Attica LockeThe book starts with Mary Karr’s recollection of her mother, this tall striking woman who seemed out of place in this small, stinky, chemical-waste town. Her husband worked in a refinery. She was an artist who dreamed of a different life but was locked down by whatever was expected of her at that time in our nation’s history and in this region. There’s a lot of rage, alcohol and guns in this... (Source)

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47

Safe Haven

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a captivating love story filled with suspense and mystery.

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations,...
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48

Post Office

"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than twelve years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers.

This classic 1971 novel--the one that catapulted its author to national fame--is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of...
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Recommended by James Altucher, and 1 others.

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49

Ask Again, Yes

How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again,...
more

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50

Ham on Rye

A down-and-out writer recalls his childhood, schooling, and the years leading up to World War II. less

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51

Looking for Alaska

The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

First drink
First prank
First friend
First girl
Last words

Miles “Pudge” Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.”

Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and...
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Recommended by Angel Dei, and 1 others.

Angel DeiMy favorite John Green book 😭😭 https://t.co/Aqkvmuu9Q5 (Source)

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52

Hey, Kiddo

A National Book Award Finalist!
 In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

Jarrett goes through his childhood trying...
more
Recommended by Mary Burkey, and 1 others.

Mary BurkeyMary: Hey, Kiddo was a National Book Award finalist as a graphic memoir, recognising the literary power of Krosoczka’s personal story of his mother’s heroin addiction and childhood with alcoholic grandparents. It’s told from the point of view of Krosoczka at age 17, and teens forge an immediate connection with the author’s description of how his artistic talent helped him survive his upbringing. (Source)

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53

Take Me with You

August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his 19-year-old son died. Every year he's spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip's ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go.

What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip and the bonds that develop between them would prove, driving each to create a new destiny...
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54

Maine

In her best-selling debut, Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan explored the complicated and contradictory landscape of female friendship. Now, in her highly anticipated second novel, Sullivan takes us into even richer territory, introducing four unforgettable women who have nothing in common but the fact that, like it or not, they’re family.

For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled...
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55

Everything, Everything

My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn...
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56

Factotum

One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.

Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to...
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57

Lush

Natasha Friend is a Judy Blume for today -- clearly evident in this remarkable new novel about a girl whose father is an alcoholic and how she and her family learn to deal with his condition.

It's hard to be a 13-year-old girl. But it's even harder when your father's a drunk. It adds an extra layer to everything -- your family's reactions to things, the people you're willing to bring home, the way you see yourself and the world. For Samantha, it's something that's been going on for so long that she's almost used to it. Only, you never get used to it. Especially when it starts to...
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58
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets.

David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? The...
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59

The Goldfinch

A young New Yorker grieving his mother's death is pulled into a gritty underworld of art and wealth in this "extraordinary" and beloved Pulitzer Prize winner that "connects with the heart as well as the mind" (Stephen King, New York Times Book Review).

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by a longing...
more
Recommended by Kaci Lambe Kai, and 1 others.

Kaci Lambe KaiMore modern, I recently read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and I love the way it was written. A great story brought to life with long, descriptive, sometimes frenetic sentences. She paints some scenes and some ideas that are unlike anything I've ever read. It's like watching magic on the page. (Source)

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60
A few years ago, Tiffany Jenkins was detoxing behind bars at a Florida prison, incarcerated on 20 felony charges. Now, she's clean and sober, a married mother of three. As she found her way in her new life, she started sharing on social media as an outlet for her depression and anxiety. She struck a chord, several of her videos went viral (one with 46million views), and in the past year her following exploded from a few hundred thousand to more than 3 million.

The memoir opens in the Florida women's prison where Tiffany was incarcerated for 180 days. The memoir flashes back in time...
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61

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat diner in Plainview, Indiana is home away from home for Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. Dubbed "The Supremes" by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they’ve weathered life’s storms for over four decades and counseled one another through marriage and children, happiness and the blues.

Now, however, they’re about to face their most challenging year yet. Proud, talented Clarice is struggling to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities; beautiful Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love...
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62
Garnering a vast amount of attention from young people and parents, and from book buyers across the country, Smashed became a media sensation and a New York Times bestseller. Eye-opening and utterly gripping, Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics yet but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment.

With one stiff sip of Southern Comfort at the age of fourteen, Zailckas is initiated into the world of drinking. From then on, she will drink faithfully, fanatically. In high school, her...
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63
The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.

Is someone else's problem your problem? If, like so many others, you've lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else's, you may be codependent--and you may find yourself in this book--Codependent No More.The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to...
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Recommended by Whitney Cummings, and 1 others.

Whitney CummingsIf you want to know more about codependence I would say read [this book]. (Source)

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64

Lock and Key

Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant...

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65

The Rum Diary

Alternate Cover Edition can be found here.


Made into a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp, The Rum Diary—a national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book—is Hunter S. Thompson’s brilliant love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent lust in the Caribbean.

Begun in 1959 by a twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean...
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66
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London—the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their...
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Isabelle Khurshudyan[email protected] is awesome and you should check this book out! https://t.co/RL8L1xF8xZ (Source)

Sarah ChurchwellMassive congratulations to @HallieRubenhold for being longlisted for the @BGPrize for her brilliant book The Five!! So well deserved and a complete thrill for #twitterstorians! 🎉🎊📚💃 (Source)

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67

Identical

Do twins begin in the womb?
Or in a better place?

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family—on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin.

For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites—and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it...
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68
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "the Duff," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes...

more

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69
Meet Jenna Boller, star employee at Gladstone Shoe Store in Chicago. Standing a gawky 5'11" at 16 years old, Jenna is the kind of girl most likely to stand out in the crowd for all the wrong reasons. But that doesn't stop Madeline Gladstone, the president of Gladstone's Shoes 176 outlets in 37 states, from hiring Jenna to drive her cross country in a last ditch effort to stop Elden Gladstone from taking over his mother's company and turning a quality business into a shop-and-schlock empire. Now Jenna Boller shoe salesperson is about to become a shoe-store spy as she joins her crusty old... more

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70

The Spectacular Now

This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture -- one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller.

SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he...
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71

Rescue

A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma--streetwise and tough-talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter Webster, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely. Soon Sheila and Peter are embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast.

Can you ever really save another person? Eighteen...
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72

Open Book

Jessica reveals for the first time her inner monologue and most intimate struggles. Guided by the journals she's kept since age fifteen, and brimming with her unique humor and down-to-earth humanity, Open Book is as inspiring as it is entertaining.

This was supposed to be a very different book. Five years ago, Jessica Simpson was approached to write a motivational guide to living your best life. She walked away from the offer, and nobody understood why. The truth is that she didn’t want to lie.

Jessica couldn’t be authentic with her readers if she wasn’t...
more
Recommended by Yashar Ali, and 1 others.

Yashar AliI love @JessicaSimpson and I love her new book It’s an honest and earnest memoir Lots of juicy tidbits of course, but she’s also heartbreakingly honest about the impact alcohol had on her life See the screenshot for my favorite part 🐘 https://t.co/6O8tOX0SEt https://t.co/LJ8vh6Ms46 (Source)

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73

Brideshead Revisited

The most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh's novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder's infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them. less

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74

Runner

From the award-winning author of "Night Hoops" and "Painting the Black" comes this suspenseful, psychologically astute novel with themes of terrorism and patriotism, fear and courage. less

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75

When

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only...
more

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76

A Death in the Family (My Struggle Book 1)

In this utterly remarkable novel Karl Ove Knausgaard writes with painful honesty about his childhood and teenage years, his infatuation with rock music, his relationship with his loving yet almost invisible mother and his distant and unpredictable father, and his bewilderment and grief on his father's death. When Karl Ove becomes a father himself, he must balance the demands of caring for a young family with his determination to write great literature. In A Death in the Family Knausgaard has created a universal story of the struggles, great and small, that we all face in our lives. A... more
Recommended by Ari Iaccarino, Roy Jacobsen, and 2 others.

Ari IaccarinoI’ve been on a Russian Classics reading whirl the past two years, and that was inspired by reading a six-book series named “My Struggle” by Norwegian essayist Karl Ove Knausgaard. He is the definition of a masterful writer in that almost everything he discusses is of the most mundane nature; shopping at a grocery store, dealing with crying children, and the awkwardness of just being alive. Yet at... (Source)

Roy JacobsenThis is something as rare as a well-composed, sometimes brilliantly written, and organised stream of consciousness which lasts for 3,000 pages (Source)

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77

Far from the Tree

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to...
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78

Living Sober

Living Sober is an extremely informative book which does not offer a plan for getting sober but does offer us sound advice about how to stay sober.

Living Sober is an extremely informative book which does not offer a plan for getting sober but does offer us sound advice about how to stay sober. Basic, essential information from Alcoholics Anonymous. As the book states, "Anyone can get sober. . .the trick is to live sober."
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79

A Moveable Feast

Hemingway's memories of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties are deeply personal, warmly affectionate, and full of wit. Looking back not only at his own much younger self, but also at the other writers who shared Paris with him - James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald - he recalls the time when, poor, happy, and writing in cafes, he discovered his vocation. Written during the last years of Hemingway's life, his memoir is a lively and powerful reflection of his genius that scintillates with the romance of the city. less

Mohsin HamidWe think of Hemingway as an American writer, but much of his writing is set outside of the United States, just as much of his life was set outside of the United States. (Source)

Janine di GiovanniThe fact that Hemingway writes it as an old, rather bitter man trapped in his Idaho home with a bullying wife while he dreams of his youth in Paris with his first wife and child is so touching to me. (Source)

Wai Chee DimockThis is a memoir by Hemingway about his time in Paris, which includes sketches of people like F Scott Fitzgerald. (Source)

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80

Indian Horse

Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows.


With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken...
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81

Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas, the first novel by John O’Brien, is a disturbing and emotionally wrenching story of a woman who embraces life and a man who rejects it. Sera, a prostitute, and Ben, an alcoholic, stumble together and discover in each other a respite from their unforgiving lives. A testimony to the raw talent of its young author, Leaving Las Vegas is a compelling story of unconditional love between two disenfranchised and lost souls—an overlooked American classic. less
Recommended by Matthew O’Brien, and 1 others.

Matthew O’BrienI saw the movie first and thought it was a depressing but beautiful film. The book is a short, beautiful novel, a sad and beautiful love story. Usually, red flags go up for me when I see a Vegas book or movie with a prostitute and a drunk as the two main characters – it’s a bit clichéd and I’m bored with those kind of tales. But there was something different about Leaving Las Vegas. It felt real. (Source)

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82
Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and his girl, Rosie Daly, were all set to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives.

But on the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd given him the brush-off--probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional...
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83

A Piece of Cake

This is the heart-wrenching true story of a girl named Cupcake and it begins when, aged eleven, she is orphaned and placed in the 'care' of sadistic foster parents. But there comes a point in her preteen years - maybe it's the night she first tries to run away and is exposed to drugs, alcohol, and sex all at once - when Cupcake's story shifts from a tear-jerking tragedy to a dark, deeply disturbing journey through hell.

Cupcake learned to survive by turning tricks, downing hard liquor and ingesting every drug she could find while hitchhiking up and down the California coast. At...
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84

Sing You Home

After Zoe Baxter loses her baby, the only way she can find of coping is to try again. But her husband Max disagrees - more than that, he wants a divorce. When they separate, there is no mention of the unborn children they created together, still waiting at the clinic.

The Zoe falls in love again, out of the blue, and finds herself with an unexpected second chance to have a family.

But Max has found a new life too - one with no place in it for people like Zoe. And he will stand up in court to say that her new choice of partner makes her an unfit mother.

Jodi...
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85
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as...
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86

The Boy in the Black Suit

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything,...
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87

The Trip to Echo Spring

Why is it that some of the greatest works of literature have been produced by writers in the grip of alcoholism, an addiction that cost them personal happiness and caused harm to those who loved them? In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.

All six of these writers were alcoholics, and the subject of drinking surfaces in some of their finest work, from Cat on a...
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88

The Lost Weekend

Don Birnam is a sensitive, charming and well-read man. Yet when left alone for a few days by his brother, he struggles with his overwhelming desire for alcohol, succumbs to it and, in the resulting prolonged agony, goes over much of his life up to and including the lost weekend. less

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89

The Day I Woke Up Dead

A Couple's Struggle Through Addiction

To the world, the husband and wife team, Chris & Susie McColl, are always making others laugh and are living life out loud on social media. As transparent as they are, there has been a hidden dark side to their story that needs to be told. The Day I Woke Up Dead shares both perspectives of how the McColl's fought a life-and-death battle against addiction and alcoholism. Take the journey with them and see how anybody is prey to this awful disease. Despite the heavy topic, you will find yourself laughing with them, crying with them and, most importantly, learning how they fight back to... more

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90
In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time. less

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91

Women

Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova. less
Recommended by Brett Rossi, and 1 others.

Brett Rossi@mikequasar @YouTube You should read the book “Women” by Charles Bukowski .... it’s a great read and one of my favorite books about alcoholism and womanizing. The main character is a total douche bag but you can’t put the book down (Source)

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92

The Flight Attendant

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness.... more

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93
Resentment. Fear. Self-Pity. Intolerance. Anger. This cast of character defects will undermine the best-laid plans for recovery from addiction. It's not uncommon for individuals in recovery to hang on to negative, self-defeating behaviors after they've given up their addiction. These are the "rocks" that can sink recovery - or, at the least, block further progress. With more than 100,000 copies sold, Drop the Rock is the definitive guide to removing character defects that can prevent gratifying, long-standing recovery. Based on the Twelve Step program, particularly the principles behind Steps... more

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94

Water for Elephants

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Award for Most Popular Book.

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus...
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95

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

My name is Katniss Everdeen.
Why am I not dead?
I should be dead.


Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows...
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96
Recommended by Its Not Gone Well, and 1 others.

Its Not Gone WellIs there a problem here? If you or someone you love is struggling with their alcohol use, this book “From the Brink of the Drink” is just the tool you need to better understand alcoholism and begin the process of recovery. #NewYearsResolution #Ad https://t.co/utZPvKNklS 👈📖 https://t.co/VlLxZZdn88 (Source)

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97

A Drinking Life

This bestselling memoir from a seasoned New York City reporter is "a vivid report of a journey to the edge of self-destruction" (New York Times).
As a child during the Depression and World War II, Pete Hamill learned early that drinking was an essential part of being a man, inseparable from the rituals of celebration, mourning, friendship, romance, and religion. Only later did he discover its ability to destroy any writer's most valuable tools: clarity, consciousness, memory.
In A Drinking Life, Hamill explains how alcohol slowly became a part of his life,...
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98

Father of the Rain

Prize-winning author Lily King's masterful new novel spans three decades of a volatile relationship between a frighteningly charismatic, alcoholic father and the daughter who cannot help but love him.
Gardener Amory is a New England WASP who is beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is about to be impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly becoming outdated. His daughter, Daley, has spent the first eleven years of her life carefully negotiating her parents’ conflicting worlds: the liberal, socially committed realm of her mother, and the conservative,...
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99

City of Girls

From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are.

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of...
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Recommended by Rogue Epa, Sarah Lahbati, and 2 others.

Rogue EpaTucking into a great new book in my happy place. @GilbertLiz https://t.co/Qoz8tO4OVp (Source)

Sarah LahbatiCity of Girls may be my new favorite book. (Source)

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100

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2)

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a...
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Don't have time to read the top Alcoholism books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.