18 books like Aphrodite

By Isabel Allende,

Here are 18 books that Aphrodite fans have personally recommended if you like Aphrodite. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kayla Anderson Author Of Moon Northern California Road Trip: Drives along the Coast, Redwoods, and Mountains with the Best Stops along the Way

From my list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Northern California, right on the banks of the Sacramento River. While I didn’t realize it growing up, it was an epicenter for outdoor adventures. Along with skiing, snowboarding, hiking, wakeboarding, and camping, I always read a lot. My dad was worried that I would have no sense of direction because I was always in the back of our van or RV reading a book. That led to writing…and I had my first article published in a wakeboarding magazine when I was 15 years old. Traveling always took a backburner to reading, but now it’s front and center of my writing. 

Kayla's book list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair

Kayla Anderson Why did Kayla love this book?

Anyone who has ever worked in the food or hospitality industry—as a cook, a waitress, a hostess, a barista, or otherwisecan identify with this book.

The restaurant business is a different beast, and Anthony Bourdain took a huge risk in writing this and burning bridges with his bosses and coworkers. But in doing so, he unlocked the universal hidden language that food and hospitality workers share.

As a former hostess/waitress myself who spent most of her college years with a part-time job at IHOP and the Golden Waffle, I could relate to a lot of what Bourdain experienced working in NYC, especially with minority groups and how they were treated during that time. He was a huge inspiration to a lot of people, including me. 

By Anthony Bourdain,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Kitchen Confidential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer _____________________________ After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain decided to tell all - and he meant all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown;…


Book cover of Me Talk Pretty One Day

Abraham Chang Author Of 888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers

From my list on incorporating pop culture in unexpected ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a publishing professional for over 20 years, I’ve worked in a variety of jobs and positions with some of the biggest pop culture creators and brands. Just before the pandemic, I finally took time to invest in myself as a writer and set out to combine my lifelong passions for film, TV, music, video games, and books–with my skills as an award-winning poet–to write my debut novel, from my “certain point of view” as a first-generation Asian American. The books on my list here are from some of the authors that I admire–who are also “one of us”: the bookworms, the pop culture geeks, the hopeless romantics. 

Abraham's book list on incorporating pop culture in unexpected ways

Abraham Chang Why did Abraham love this book?

No one else can make me laugh through all the cringe-y, absurd, awkward pain like David Sedaris. His pop culture touch points are a bit more esoteric than (and a generation or two above) mine–but his Billie Holiday impression is impressive and absolutely pristine. Unexpected and revelatory, his essays and memoirs brought me to tears of laughter but also of compassion and empathy.

I started with this book and quickly devoured more. By the time I was a full-fledged David Sedaris reader, I was already a huge fan of Amy Sedaris–his equally talented sister–a skilled actress and comedian. Amy, matching the same level of genius as her brother, has been a mainstay of TV and film. She also appears in her brother’s writing, and the duo often collaborate creatively–notably in the respective audiobooks. I love the Sedaris family (including all the other, less Hollywood types) and always enjoy reading about…

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Me Talk Pretty One Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another inspiration. You Cant Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers and cashiers with 6-inch fingernails. Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is…


Book cover of The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca

Nolan Yuma Author Of Living with the In-Laws

From my list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Santiago, Chile, took my first steps in Antwerp, Belgium, and grew up in British Columbia, Canada. In other words, I was a third culture child with an identity crisis that carried on into my twenties. These books have helped me turn my past mistakes into a craft others can enjoy. Like many of the authors on my list, I’ve said yes to just about anything and lived with people from every walk of life. I’m an expert in making mistakes, but I have done one thing well, and that’s learning from people who think differently than I do. 

Nolan's book list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry

Nolan Yuma Why did Nolan love this book?

Shah, a self-proclaimed “broke writer,” somehow affords a Moroccan mansion with maids, gardeners, and endless renovations. He doesn’t bother to develop his wife and kids as characters—they get even less attention than an extra in a movie. But at least you get to see Morocco through his self-obsessed eyes, which, fortunately, pay a lot of attention to detail. His immaculate use of sensory details will give you a traveling experience for even less than a Ryan Air flight. The book is a prime choice for anyone who wants to dive into Moroccan culture with all its superstitions. 

By Tahir Shah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true. By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge–and nothing is as easy as it seems….

Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Tahir Shah dreamed of making a home in that astonishing country. At age thirty-six he got his chance. Investing what money he…


Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

Book cover of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

Wendy Lee Hermance Author Of Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Lee Hermance was heard on National Public Radio (NPR) stations with her Missouri Folklore series in the 1980s. She earned a journalism degree from Stephens College, served as Editor and Features Writer for Midwestern and Southern university and regional publications, then settled into writing real estate contracts. In 2012 she attended University of Sydney, earning a master’s degree by research thesis. Her books include Where I’m Going with this Poem, a memoir in poetry and prose. Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat marks her return to feature writing as collections of narrative non-fiction stories.

Wendy's book list on why Portugal is weird

What is my book about?

Weird Foods of Portugal describes the author's first years trying to make sense of a strange new place and a home there for herself.

Witty, dreamlike, and at times jarring, the book sizzles with social commentary looking back at America and beautiful, finely drawn descriptions of Portugal and its people. Part dark-humor cautionary tale, part travel adventure, ultimately, Hermance's book of narrative non-fiction serves as affirmation for any who wish to make a similar move themselves.

Weird Foods of Portugal: Adventures of an Expat

By Wendy Lee Hermance,

What is this book about?

"Wendy Lee Hermance describes Portugal´s colorful people and places - including taxi drivers and animals - with a poet´s empathy and dark humor. Part travel adventure, part cautionary tale, Weird Foods of Portugal is at it´s heart, affirmation for all who consider making such a move themselves."


Book cover of Merde in Europe

Nolan Yuma Author Of Living with the In-Laws

From my list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Santiago, Chile, took my first steps in Antwerp, Belgium, and grew up in British Columbia, Canada. In other words, I was a third culture child with an identity crisis that carried on into my twenties. These books have helped me turn my past mistakes into a craft others can enjoy. Like many of the authors on my list, I’ve said yes to just about anything and lived with people from every walk of life. I’m an expert in making mistakes, but I have done one thing well, and that’s learning from people who think differently than I do. 

Nolan's book list on nonfiction for travelers to make you laugh and cry

Nolan Yuma Why did Nolan love this book?

Okay, fine, this book isn’t actually nonfiction, but it’s so accurate and believable that it may as well be. You might not question Clarke’s life choices, but you’ll question Paul West, the protagonist. Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a bureaucrat? Neither have I. But that didn’t stop me from reading this book. As someone who has had to deal with funcionarios  (Spanish government employees), bureaucrats aren’t high on my list as people I’d invite to a dinner party, but this book gave me a chance to learn about their lives at a safe distance. I learned something new and laughed out loud on almost every page.

By Stephen Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE POST-BREXIT EDITION - brand new chapters with extra EU chaos for Englishman Paul West.

An Englishman, Paul West, goes to Brussels to work for a French MEP. There he gets an insider's view of what really goes on in the massive madhouse that is the EU Parliament. With the referendum on the horizon, things are even more hysterical than usual.

When the Brexit result comes in, Paul has to make a decision. If he wants to work in Europe, should he apply for a French passport?

But can an Englishman really become French?
Can he sing the bloodthirsty 'Marseillaise'?…


Book cover of The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Sexual Passion and Fulfillment

Zachary Zane Author Of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto

From my list on overcoming sexual shame.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the sex and relationship advice columnist at Men’s Health Magazine, I’m obviously pretty damn obsessed with sex. I find it fascinating on so many levels, which is why I not only have a ton of it but also made it my career. For so long, I struggled with sexual shame, and one thing I realized as a writer is that I’m not special. Sure, I’ve probably been to more sex parties than you, but if I’m struggling with shame, being bisexual, and embracing my kinks, then other folks are, too. And just like I’m obsessed with sex, I’ve become obsessed with helping others remove sexual shame.

Zachary's book list on overcoming sexual shame

Zachary Zane Why did Zachary love this book?

While some aspects of our sexuality are innate, many are born through pivotal sexual experiences in our lives. This book breaks this down and encourages readers to unpack where their sexual desires came from so they can remove shame and have healthy sexual relationships. 

It encouraged me to be introspective about the root of my desires. For so long, I had steered clear of this. I believed that feeling the need to understand the origin of our desires was coming from a place of sex-negativity, an attempt to “justify” our current sexual behavior, which I don’t think requires justification. 

But after reading Morin’s book, I felt I understood my sexual desires better than ever before, and it led to me having more meaningful, passionate, and wild sex.

By Jack Morin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Challenging accepted theories about what makes for terrific sex, The Erotic Mind is a breakthrough exploration of the least understood dimensions of human sexuality—the psychology of desire, arousal, and fulfillment. Nationally known sex therapist Dr. Jack Morin offers a bold new perspective that celebrates the joys of Eros without denying its risks.

Based on an in-depth analysis of over 1,000 provocative stories of peak sexual experiences, The Erotic Mind offers clear, accessible guidance on how anyone can utilize his or her own peak encounters and fantasies as powerful tools of self-discovery.

The Erotic Mind explains the many paradoxes of erotic…


Book cover of The Social Life of Opium in China

Erika Rappaport Author Of A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World

From my list on understanding tea and other Chinese things.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Los Angeles, the mecca of global consumer culture. I became a historian to escape from what I saw as this shallow, surface culture but through my work, I have returned to the mall. My work uses history to show how consumer desires are not natural. Instead, I ask why people consume particular things in particular places, and I show how they attribute meaning to the things they buy. I am not a specialist on China but while researching and writing on tea's global political economy and consumer culture I became fascinated by how China contributed to the making of global tastes, desires, and material culture. These books illuminate the history and cultural life of tea, opium, porcelain, and other things within and beyond China.

Erika's book list on understanding tea and other Chinese things

Erika Rappaport Why did Erika love this book?

We know a lot about how the Chinese state sought to ban, limit, and exclude opium from its borders, but this book uniquely delves into the multifaceted way that the demand for the drug emerged in the first place and then spread down the social scale to become a mass commodity. I especially loved the detailed way in which the author showed how consumers produced a variety of meanings surrounding opium and incorporated it into both elite and popular culture. Writing against so many myths, Yangwen shows us that for much of its history, opium was celebrated not demonized.

By Zheng Yangwen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Social Life of Opium in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a remarkable and broad-ranging narrative, Yangwen Zheng's book explores the history of opium consumption in China from 1483 to the late twentieth century. The story begins in the mid-Ming dynasty, when opium was sent as a gift by vassal states and used as an aphrodisiac in court. Over time, the Chinese people from different classes and regions began to use it for recreational purposes, so beginning a complex culture of opium consumption. The book traces this transformation over a period of five hundred years, asking who introduced opium to China, how it spread across all sections of society, embraced…


Book cover of Spice: The History of a Temptation

Eleanor Ford Author Of The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routes

From my list on to spice up your shelves.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my writing, food is a means to explore culture and understand the world. I’ve been described as a ‘culinary detective’. I collect and create eclectic, evocative recipes from around the globe so I can travel from my kitchen when I'm back home in London. The Nutmeg Trail follows my multi-award-winning books, Fire Islands and Samarkand.

Eleanor's book list on to spice up your shelves

Eleanor Ford Why did Eleanor love this book?

A compelling exploration by Turner into what made spices so fashionable and so dangerous. “For their sake, fortunes have been made and lost, empires built and destroyed, and new worlds discovered” all to sate human infatuation with these ingredients. I was swept away by Turner’s erudite approach to spice history and his work has been an inspiration to me.

By Jack Turner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this brilliant, engrossing work, Jack Turner explores an era—from ancient times through the Renaissance—when what we now consider common condiments were valued in gold and blood.

Spices made sour medieval wines palatable, camouflaged the smell of corpses, and served as wedding night aphrodisiacs. Indispensible for cooking, medicine, worship, and the arts of love, they were thought to have magical properties and were so valuable that they were often kept under lock and key. For some, spices represented Paradise, for others, the road to perdition, but they were potent symbols of wealth and power, and the wish to possess them…


Book cover of Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy

Erica Hannickel Author Of Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers

From my list on orchid history and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers. I’m a historian, a master gardener, and I’ve grown a few hundred orchids for over half my life. I love collecting stories of orchids because, well, they’re fascinating, and they offer a deeper connection to the pastime I love best.

Erica's book list on orchid history and culture

Erica Hannickel Why did Erica love this book?

Hanson’s book is a wild ride. Look here to learn a lot about the global orchid trade and environmental politics of orchid collecting. Just one unforgettable quote in the book: "You can get off alcohol, drugs, women, food, and cars, but once you're hooked on orchids, you're finished. You never get off orchids...never." – Hansen quoting Joe Kunisch, commercial orchid grower in New York.

I read this during a particularly difficult time in my life and am still thankful for its ability to transport me into strange and beautiful places.

By Eric Hansen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The acclaimed author of Motoring with Mohammed brings us a compelling adventure into the remarkable world of the orchid and the impossibly bizarre array of international characters who dedicte their lives to it.

The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been…


Book cover of The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth

Leopoldine Prosperetti Author Of Woodland Imagery in Northern Art, c. 1500 - 1800: Poetry and Ecology

From my list on trees in literature and art.

Why am I passionate about this?

"Ut pictura poesis", as goes painting so goes poetry is a pithy phrase that sums up the truth that a picture is mute poetry and poetry is a speaking picture. I have studied the history of this tradition from many angles and I have derived from it the term “lyrical naturalism” which I use to discover what is charming or captivating in the world of plants. As an art historian, well-read in European literature, I regard myself as a member of the environmental humanities which increasingly is the home of many academics eager to participate in the great debate on how to honor the natural world in literature and art before it is too late.

Leopoldine's book list on trees in literature and art

Leopoldine Prosperetti Why did Leopoldine love this book?

This is another book that permanently perches on my shoulder. It is a masterpiece by a visionary author that helped me to explore the mythic origins of shrubs and trees in early societies. The book inspired me to write essays on the hazel and the hawthorn, their early blossoms as manifestations of the power of the mysterious white mantle spread by the White Goddess in Celtic lands, in contradistinction to the Aphrodite as the goddess of all that is green in the Mediterranean.

By Robert Graves,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive edition of one of the more extraordinary and influential books of our time

This labyrinthine and extraordinary book, first published more than sixty years ago, was the outcome of Robert Graves's vast reading and curious research into strange territories of folklore, mythology, religion, and magic. Erudite and impassioned, it is a scholar-poet's quest for the meaning of European myths, a polemic about the relations between man and woman, and also an intensely personal document in which Graves explores the sources of his own inspiration and, as he believed, all true poetry.
Incorporating all of Graves's final revisions, his…


Book cover of The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite

Zosia Wand Author Of Once Upon A Place

From my list on wonderful women behaving badly.

Why am I passionate about this?

Women who behave badly delight me. My mother is Polish and I was raised by a formidable group of great aunts who gathered in flannelette nighties and curlers, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, to play cards into the early hours, fuelled by vodka shots and ginger cake. Survivors of Nazi invasion and atrocities, they were loud, effusive, argumentative, unapologetic, loving, and fiercely loyal. I explore difficult territory through my stories, but I have great faith in humanity. My characters are strong women, bold in the face of challenges. Love and loyalty are the keys to their survival.

Zosia's book list on wonderful women behaving badly

Zosia Wand Why did Zosia love this book?

The title of the book and the stylish cover design offer the first taste of its delicious content. I love a proper story, rich with details that conjure a heightened world and allow me to feel immersed within it. The sort of book you can’t wait to get back to. Extraordinary characters, glamour, danger, and adventure. And such beautiful writing – the language and rhythm sweep you along like a musical score. All that and a charismatic, inspiring heroine who overcomes monumental obstacles during a significant and distinctive period of European history. This book is a delightful, sensory experience. I recommended it to my book group and it did not disappoint.

By Beatrice Colin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the clock chimed the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite took her first breath. Born to a cabaret dancer and soon orphaned in a scandalous murder-suicide, Lilly finds refuge at a Catholic orphanage, coming under the wing of Sister August, the first in a string of lost loves. There she meets Hanne Schmidt, a teen prostitute, and forms a bond that will last them through tumultuous love affairs, disastrous marriages, and destitution during the First World War and the subsequent economic collapse. As the century progresses, Lilly and Hanne move from the tawdry glamour of the tingle-tangle…


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