100 books like Art Lover

By Anton Gill,

Here are 100 books that Art Lover fans have personally recommended if you like Art Lover. 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 Where the Crawdads Sing

Lori Duffy Foster Author Of Never Let Go

From my list on thrillers with twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my years on the crime beat, I often met good people who did bad things and criminals with good intentions and good hearts. We tend to draw a line between good and evil, putting ourselves on the good side. From that perspective, we sit in judgment, believing we are incapable of evil because it’s “over there.” Inaccessible. Unfathomable. But that line is fictional. We redraw it constantly to feel good about ourselves and avoid empathizing with the worst of human nature. What I love about these five novels is that they expose that truth. The twists remind me that even my own line is blurred and ever-shifting.

Lori's book list on thrillers with twists

Lori Duffy Foster Why did Lori love this book?

I love historical fiction, especially when authors throw in a touch of crime. So, that’s what first drew me to this book.

What kept me reading and what made me rank this novel so highly is the gradual unlayering of the main character as the story progresses. Sure, Kya is a victim and a survivor, but she is so much more, and she is capable of more than I could have anticipated. As in some of my other favorite novels, it’s that loyalty to human nature, the understanding that circumstances can make good choices wrong and poor choices right, that pulled me in.

If I had known the ending when I started the book, I might not have believed it possible, but Delia Owens made it work.

By Delia Owens,

Why should I read it?

44 authors picked Where the Crawdads Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OVER 12 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

For years, rumours of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be…


Book cover of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

Alvin Schnupp Author Of Goods & Effects

From my list on women artists and activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by women who are artists and activists, such as Ivy Bottini, Käthe Kollwitz and Peggy Guggenheim. (All subjects of plays I wrote). They are convicted, unique, champions of justice, diversity and inclusion.

Alvin's book list on women artists and activists

Alvin Schnupp Why did Alvin love this book?

A fun, insightful, humorous revelation about a celebrated poet who returns to her conservative home and examines the people and ideas that shaped her. I identify with this book because I, too, was raised Mennonite. In addition. The protagonist of my book is a Mennonite.

By Rhoda Janzen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mennonite in a Little Black Dress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Janzen's voice―singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest―slayed me." ―Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was…


Book cover of Käthe Kollwitz: Woman and Artist

Alvin Schnupp Author Of Goods & Effects

From my list on women artists and activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by women who are artists and activists, such as Ivy Bottini, Käthe Kollwitz and Peggy Guggenheim. (All subjects of plays I wrote). They are convicted, unique, champions of justice, diversity and inclusion.

Alvin's book list on women artists and activists

Alvin Schnupp Why did Alvin love this book?

Ms. Kollwitz is one of the most famous expressionistic German artists and was the first female to teach in a university setting. She was a pacifist, champion of the poor, a politically-active socialist. Under the Nazi regime, her work was labeled “Degenerate.”  After learning about Ms. Kollwitz, I wrote a play about her entitled Censored.

By Martha Kearns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First Edition


Book cover of Harold and Maude

Alvin Schnupp Author Of Goods & Effects

From my list on women artists and activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by women who are artists and activists, such as Ivy Bottini, Käthe Kollwitz and Peggy Guggenheim. (All subjects of plays I wrote). They are convicted, unique, champions of justice, diversity and inclusion.

Alvin's book list on women artists and activists

Alvin Schnupp Why did Alvin love this book?

Maude is such a joyful, wise older woman who embraces life, who refuses to judge people, who provides guidance for a young troubled man.  

Especially infectious is Maude’s love of life which balances nicely with and counters Harold’s preoccupation with death.

The advice delivered by Maude, such as, “It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality,” always contains a unique perspective that is profoundly unpredictable and truthful.

By Colin Higgins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nineteen-year-old Harold Chasen is obsessed with death. He fakes suicides to shock his self-obsessed mother, drives a customized Jaguar hearse, and attends funerals of complete strangers. Seventy-nine-year-old Maude Chardin, on the other hand, adores life. She liberates trees from city sidewalks and transplants them to the forest, paints smiles on the faces of church statues, and “borrows” cars to remind their owners that life is fleeting—here today, gone tomorrow! A chance meeting between the two turns into a madcap, whirlwind romance, and Harold learns that life is worth living. Harold and Maude started as Colin Higgins’ master’s thesis at UCLA…


Book cover of Lote

Mo Moulton Author Of The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women

From my list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got hooked on mystery novels as a kid reading the Encyclopedia Brown stories. Something about the combination of a great story and a puzzle to solve is irresistible to me.  As a historian, I’m interested in communities, and especially how people understood themselves as being part of the new kinds of economic, political, and cultural communities that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. When I learned about Dorothy L. Sayers’ lifelong writing group, the wryly named ‘Mutual Admiration Society’, I was thrilled at the chance to combine my professional interests with my personal passion for detective fiction. 

Mo's book list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers

Mo Moulton Why did Mo love this book?

Why does the past speak to us? What do the 1920s – those decadent years of jazz and cocktails and sex – have to offer the 2020s?

When I was writing my book, I was obsessed with the interwar decades – Sayers’ Golden Age of Crime – and with the detective-like quality of my own work, as I chased scraps of information about my subjects’ lives in scattered archives.

In Lote, we meet Mathilda, who has what she calls Transfixions: fragments of the past, especially the Black queer past, that mesmerize and absorb her. Mathilda’s quest for contact with that past takes her into surreal, extravagant adventures.

This is an intoxicating novel and a must for anyone who has ever swooned before a black-and-white photo, a handwritten letter, or a claret-coloured dress.

By Shola von Reinhold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER of the James Tait Black Prize 2021.

WINNER of The Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021.

Lush and frothy, incisive and witty, Shola von Reinhold's decadent queer literary debut immerses readers in the pursuit of aesthetics and beauty, while interrogating the removal and obscurement of Black figures from history.

Solitary Mathilda has long been enamored with the 'Bright Young Things' of the 20s, and throughout her life, her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things…


Book cover of Sculpture Parks in Europe: A Guide to Art and Nature

Amy Dempsey Author Of Destination Art: Art Essentials

From my list on Destination Art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an art historian and the author of various books about modern art, including Styles, Schools & Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art and three editions of Destination Art. I coined the phrase ‘Destination Art’ in order to discuss artworks in which location is an integral ingredient, as is the journey to find them. I had noticed projects like these happening all over the world, but often in a quiet way. They needed someone to shine the light on them – so I did! My goal is to educate, enthuse and excite – and to continue my mission of spreading the word about intriguing and inspiring art projects. 

Amy's book list on Destination Art

Amy Dempsey Why did Amy love this book?

Both reference book and travel guide, this second edition includes over 90 sculpture parks in 27 European countries. The parks featured are those that have an ‘art and nature’ element, in which artists collaborate with nature, working in and with nature to create artworks and situations that help us think about and enjoy both. One to take with you on your next trip around Europe!

By Raul Rispa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is a continually increasing interest in parks and gardens in which modern sculptures and nature form a special symbiosis. Landscapes are an inspiring ambiance for works of art, which in turn add something to the parks and gardens, thus creating a very unique interaction between art and nature.



This guide is the second edition and presents more than 90 parks in 27 European countries, now also including Finland, Hungary, and Poland among others. The parks presented include classics such as the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence and the Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek, as well as spectacular new schemes such as…


Book cover of Tolkien, Enchantment, and Loss: Steps on the Developmental Journey

Janet Brennan Croft Author Of War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien

From my list on adventure in the Tolkien criticism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading Tolkien since I was seven years old, mumblety-mumble years in the distant past, but it wasn’t till much later that I got serious about reading critical works on Tolkien, and then turned to writing about him, myself. Twenty years ago, I published my first book on Tolkien. Since then, I’ve edited a number of essay collections, published many papers, consulted on the Hobbit movies, amassed a respectable personal library, and edited Mythlore, one of the major journals in the field of Tolkien studies, since 2006. My love of Tolkien has led me on many adventures and to deep and abiding friendships around the world! 

Janet's book list on adventure in the Tolkien criticism

Janet Brennan Croft Why did Janet love this book?

I find many attempts to psychoanalyze authors disrespectful and poorly thought out, but this is an exception. It offers a unique perspective on the interrelationship between Tolkien’s life and art.

It is well-argued, convincing, and beautifully written. It gets deeply into the WHY of Tolkien’s art without being invasive or overly speculative.

Book cover of Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

David Poxon Author Of Watercolour, Heart & Soul

From my list on art influences.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a 5-year-old boy, I was given a tin of watercolour paints by my Grandmother. I had no idea how to use them, and there was no one around to teach me. I had to find my own way. Around the same time I was taken on a day trip to London, where we visited the Tate Gallery. It was there that I was confronted for the first time by the magnificent paintings of J.M.W.Turner. My love for art was ignited. I became a serious student of art, and although I have had to make a living in the world like everyone else, art became my go-to therapy for relief and recreation.

David's book list on art influences

David Poxon Why did David love this book?

On a day trip to Cambridge UK I was in an old book store. I could not believe my good fortune when I spotted an old-worn book entitled Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates. I realised immediately that Pyle was the art teacher of N.C.Wyeth, the styles of the 2 are interchangeable. This book contains numerous Pirate stories, which Pyle wrote himself. Obviously the text is now very antiquated, but there are numerous illustrations illustrating Pirate battles and adventure. Pyle wrote and taught art in the late 19th Century. Any student of the Wyeth’s should check him out.

By Howard Pyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Pirates, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle….It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his combination of interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time Pirates, any more than there could be a second Remington to paint the now extinct Indians and gun-fighters of the Great West.


Book cover of Santa Lilio Sangre Ayami Kojima Artworks Art Book

Mina Petrović Author Of Manga Crash Course Fantasy: How to Draw Anime and Manga, Step by Step

From my list on inspiring manga art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a long-time manga teacher and a pop-culture researcher, as well as a comic illustrator and a Youtuber, presenting under the "Mistiqarts" pseudonym. Since manga was something that inspired me early on to dedicate my life to the art style and pop culture, I was constantly looking for new ways to bring this lifestyle and art to other people interested in drawing manga.  

Mina's book list on inspiring manga art

Mina Petrović Why did Mina love this book?

Ayami Kojima has held my heart for as long as I was an artist. Her visual style is something anyone can recognize, and the aftershock of knowing that this artist defined an entire video game industry aesthetic made me love her work even more. I managed to find only pieces of this book online until I was able to finally afford this super rare book filled with her hyper-detailed oil paintings.

Book cover of The Art Stealers

Gail Levin Author Of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography

From my list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Distinguished Professor of art history at CUNY and biographer of artists. I grew up in Atlanta, attended college in Boston, and have worked in New York since my twenties. With a new Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers, I began as curator of the Hopper Collection at the Whitney Museum, assigned to produce a definitive catalogue of all Edward Hopper’s authentic art. His papers were missing except for his record books that recorded every time a work left for sale, loan, or gift. I traced each work as it left Hopper’s possession and discovered a massive number of undocumented artworks stolen from the estate, which the Whitney still wants to cover up.

Gail's book list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate

Gail Levin Why did Gail love this book?

Esterow, then employed by Larry Fleischman, assessed hundreds of Edward Hoppers that an unknown minister offered to sell.

The book’s dust jacket advertises “a lively history of certain fabulous art thefts—and the strange breed of thieves who perpetrated them.” Esterow’s book inspired one reviewer to comment that few of his criminals “are very ingenious.”

Sanborn, who must have seemed to Esterow like a character that belonged in his narrative, told me that Esterow offered him a consignment deal for what he was shown, which later turned out to be just a small part of Sanborn’s loot.

Had he known Sanborn’s story, Esterow might have added his scheme of befriending the aging sister of a famous artist, whose early works were jammed into the attic of the family home. 

By Milton Esterow,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

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