The Ultimate Fangirl Reading List

Two of the things I love most in this world are pop culture and books. Imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon the niche of non-fiction books exploring the subject I love so much – Pop and fandoms! 

From strong female characters in film and how they shape us, to how fangirls have created the internet as we know it! Here are 8 non-fiction reads on fandom and pop culture for your ultimate fangirl summer reading! 

For the Stans

Fangirls: Scenes From Modern Music Fangirls by Hannah Ewens

“I wanted to know more about what it meant to be a fan, to ask what they were doing, why they were doing it. I wanted to look with care from the stars themselves towards the people who gave them any luminescent quality.”

Music lover and award-winning journalist Ewens specialises in music, spirituality and gender. For her debut book, Ewens documents and celebrates fangirl culture and history across years, genres and countries through a series of interviews, quotes and research. An ode to fangirls and community this one is a must-read.

Everything I Need I Get From You: How Fangirls Created the Internet as We Know It by Kaitlyn Tiffany

Another study of fans but with a heavier emphasis on the role they play in online culture by Atlantic writer Kaitlyn Tiffany.

Everything I Need I Get From You is funny, clever and rightfully highlights the crucial role fans have played in shaping internet culture and most notably the huge role they play in music promotion amongst many others.

This Must Be The Place: Music Community and Vanished Spaces in New York City by Jesse Rifkin

New York is the backdrop of many a pop cultural moment. In this book, music historian Jesse Rifkin shares the musical history coursing through the streets of the Big Apple and how real estate prices and gentrification, amongst others, played a role in birthing everything from the Folk and Indie Rock to the House and Blues scenes in the city. 

Made up of a selection of over 100 interviews with artists, DJs and ‘scenesters’, this ambitious book (it’s nearly 700 pages) is an interesting one to dip in and out of. 

For the film fanatics

Strong Female Character by Hanna Flint 

Film critic and pop culture commentator Flint details her ‘origin story’, life and career through the lens of film and her favourite heroines growing up.

Described as part memoir and part (Feminist) manifesto, this book celebrates women in film and women in general. Especially those, like Flint, who don’t always feel like they fit in or are accurately represented.* 

*Thank you to Footnote Press for a gifted copy of Strong Female Character.

The Secret Life of Movies by Simon Brew 

If you love finding little easter eggs and connections in movies and researching everything as soon as the credits finish rolling then you’ll love this book.

In The Secret Life of Movies, Brew encourages you to ‘take a closer look at the movies you love…’ and reveals the history, inside jokes, stories, connecting threads and cameos in beloved movies from Jaws to Scott Pilgrim vs The World. 

For all the pop culture enthusiasts

Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma by Claire Dederer 

‘Who has not asked himself at some time or other: Am I a monster or is this what it means to be human.’ – Clarice Lispector 

Can you separate the art from the artist? This question has plagued many a pop enthusiast. In Monsters, Dederer delves deeper into this debate, from problematic and harmful authors to musicians and filmmakers who engage in outright illegal behaviour, analysing her own feelings throughout and encouraging us as readers to do the same.

Unlikeable Female Characters: The Women Pop Culture
Wants You to Hate by Anna Bogutskaya

The renaissance of the anti-heroine and the rise of the hot mess,
from Cardi B to Carrie Bradshaw, Unlikeable Female Characters
celebrates the female ‘villains’ in popular culture across film, TV and
music. The sexually liberated, the messy trainwreck and the angry
women, Bogutskaya looks at the ‘nuances of womanhood on and
off-screen to reveal whether pop culture- and society- is finally ready to embrace the complicated women.’

Cultish by Amanda Montell

Last, but not least Cultish. In this case, judging a book by its cover pays off.

From language scholar and author of Wordslut, Amanda Montell comes another fascinating exploration of the power of language and how we communicate. This time Montell shines the lens on the ‘language of fanaticism’ that has created cult followings from the likes of SoulCycle to MLMs. 

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