10 books like As Above, So Below

By Rudy Rucker,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like As Above, So Below. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Girl with a Pearl Earring

By Tracy Chevalier,

Book cover of The Girl with a Pearl Earring

This is a book I’ve read more than once. I sympathized with Griet, the main character and enjoyed reading about her world, set in 1600s Holland. When her father goes blind and is unable to support the family, Griet’s mother forces her to work as a maid for a wealthy painter. No longer allowed to live at home, Griet moves in with the painter’s family. He is smitten with Griet despite his pregnant wife’s disapproval. Griet struggles to fulfill her work duties while everyone else resents her presence. I loved the ending of this story.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring

By Tracy Chevalier,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Girl with a Pearl Earring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the Orchard

Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . .…


The Art Forger

By B.A. Shapiro,

Book cover of The Art Forger

Art forgery has always fascinated me. The idea that you can create a 'new' work by an old master and then, maybe, get away with it. Claire is a struggling artist whose one chance at fame had been stolen by a lover. Reduced to painting reproductions of famous paintings for clients to hang in their home she is approached by an art dealer to secretly forge a Degas painting. The money is good enough to silence her scruples and when the painting arrives she immediately recognizes that it is one of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Already she is having doubts but after beginning her study of the painting she suspects that it, too, is a forgery. Forged art has never been so compelling.

The Art Forger

By B.A. Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - still the largest unsolved art theft in history - one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece - the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years - may…


The Flanders Panel

By Arturo Perez-Reverte, Margaret Jull Costa (translator),

Book cover of The Flanders Panel

An art mystery, a murder mystery. What more could you ask for?

In Madrid, a noted art restorer Julia has received a painting that is itself an intriguing mystery. A fifteenth-century Flemish painting of a Knight and a Duke playing chess. Julia finds hidden under the paint the inscription Who Killed the Knight? That is a secret that was not meant to be revealed. This book is pre-internet so research is leg work. A cast of devious and delightful characters help and hinder Julia's quest to find the answers she seeks and try to avoid becoming a victim of her curiosity. I love the descriptions of art restoration, the ambiance, and the night owl lifestyle of the characters. 

The Flanders Panel

By Arturo Perez-Reverte, Margaret Jull Costa (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The clue to a murder in the art world of contemporary Madrid lies hidden in a medieval painting of a game of chess.

In a 15th-century Flemish painting two noblemen are pictured playing chess. Yet two years before he could sit for the portrait, one of them was murdered. In 20th-century Madrid, Julia, a picture restorer preparing the painting for auction, uncovers a hidden inscription in Latin that points to the crime: Quis necavit equitem? Who killed the knight? But as she teams up with a brilliant chess theoretician to retrace the moves, she discovers the deadly game is not…


Beauty in Thorns

By Kate Forsyth,

Book cover of Beauty in Thorns

After the Impressionists and Vincent Van Gogh, the artists that come easily in third place for fictional ink spilled about them are the Pre-Raphaelites. Their personal lives are as colorful as their artwork. Australian Kate Forsyth has tackled the second phase of Pre-Raphaelitism led by Edward Burne-Jones's mythological and Arthurian paintings and William Morris's designs for furniture, wallpaper, and book art. The love lives of the artists, wives, models, and daughters find their way interwoven in the story of the art. Gabriel Rossetti, who was a major figure of the first phase of Pre-Raphaeltisim, is the flint that ignites the second phase. They all want to live in the dreams of the past, and of legends, but real life is never a fairy tale.

Beauty in Thorns

By Kate Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A spellbinding reimagining of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set amongst the wild bohemian circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists and poets.

The Pre-Raphaelites were determined to liberate art and love from the shackles of convention.

Ned Burne-Jones had never had a painting lesson and his family wanted him to be a parson. Only young Georgie Macdonald – the daughter of a Methodist minister – understood. She put aside her own dreams to support him, only to be confronted by many years of gossip and scandal.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was smitten with his favourite model, Lizzie Siddal. She wanted to be an artist herself, but…


Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

By Susan Dackerman (editor),

Book cover of Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

The advent of the exactly repeatable pictorial statement is arguably the most significant technological and cultural innovation in the history of humankind. This book examines in detail the contributions to scientific knowledge made by significant Renaissance artists, Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer, and Hendrick Goltzius principally among them. In addition to reproducing woodcuts, engravings, and etchings, the book depicts various complex forms of paper engineering from the Renaissance that acted as scientific instruments, maps, simulacra, or utile devices in themselves. 

Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

By Susan Dackerman (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unusual collaboration among distinguished art historians and historians of science, this book demonstrates how printmakers of the Northern Renaissance, far from merely illustrating the ideas of others, contributed to scientific investigations of their time. Hans Holbein, for instance, worked with cosmographers and instrument makers on some of the earliest sundial manuals published; Albrecht Durer produced the first printed maps of the constellations, which astronomers copied for over a century; and Hendrick Goltzius's depiction of the muscle-bound Hercules served as a study aid for students of anatomy. Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe features fascinating reproductions…


Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England

By Alan Macfarlane,

Book cover of Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England

Originally published in 1970, this was another foundational text for me and other witchcraft scholars of my generation.

It grew out of Macfarlane’s doctoral thesis focusing on Essex, which had been supervised by Keith Thomas, whose own great book, Religion and the Decline of Magic (much of which dealt with witches), came out the following year. Even then, the historian Macfarlane was on his way to becoming an anthropologist – a transition visible on every page of this fascinating book.

But its overriding character is that of a work of sociology. Social science models helped to impose interpretative order on the kind of archival information dug up by C. L’Estange Ewen, and connected a rise in witchcraft accusations to a number of strains in late-sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century English life, especially economic strains.

Although their interpretations differ in substance and emphasis, Macfarlane and Thomas are still associated with a paradigm…

Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England

By Alan Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a classic regional and comparative study of early modern witchcraft. The history of witchcraft continues to attract attention with its emotive and contentious debates. The methodology and conclusions of this book have impacted not only on witchcraft studies but the entire approach to social and cultural history with its quantitative and anthropological approach. The book provides an important case study on Essex as well as drawing comparisons with other regions of early modern England.
The second edition of this classic work adds a new historiographical introduction, placing the book in context today.


The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

By Mackenzi Lee,

Book cover of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Speaking of disaster bisexuals, Monty is one of my favorites in all of literature! He goes on a delightful romp through Europe in this first book of a fantastic trilogy, all while harboring a crush for his best friend. Will these two get together? Will they get into a lot of trouble as they go on their Grand Tour? The answers to these questions are so worth the incredible journey of this book.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

By Mackenzi Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Kirkus Prize nominee and Stonewall Honor winner with 5 starred reviews! A New York Times bestseller!

Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR and the New York Public Library!

"The queer teen historical you didn't know was missing from your life."-Teen Vogue

"A stunning powerhouse of a story."-School Library Journal

"A gleeful romp through history."-ALA Booklist

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee-Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets…


Folk Dress in Europe and Anatolia

By Linda M. Welters (editor),

Book cover of Folk Dress in Europe and Anatolia: Beliefs about Protection and Fertility

This book is a rich source of information about how certain attire, especially the “string skirt” and its variants, has traditionally been drafted in Europe to promote women’s health and fertility, a tradition that we can trace back, through evidence, for some 20,000 years. Wonderfully illustrated, the data here range from Greece and Turkey in the south, through Central Europe to Latvia and Norway in the far north, as well as occasionally deep into Eurasia. And of course, such apparel was particularly donned for dancing on occasions where the wearer would be seen by all. (Being a show-off runs deep in humanity!)

Folk Dress in Europe and Anatolia

By Linda M. Welters (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2000.Relationships between dress and the body have existed in European and Anatolian folk cultures well into the twentieth century. Traditional cultures have long held the belief that certain articles of dress could protect the body from harm by warding off the 'evil eye,' bring fertility to new brides, or assure human control of supernatural powers. Ritual fringes, archaic motifs, and colors such as black and red were believed to have powerful, magical effects. This absorbing and interdisciplinary book examines dress in a broad range of folk cultures - from Turkey, Greece, and Slovakia…


The Anatomy of Fascism

By Robert O. Paxton,

Book cover of The Anatomy of Fascism

Fascism and Communism purported to explain all social and political phenomena and, on that basis, justified their authoritarian or totalitarian rule. The term ‘fascist’ tends to be loosely applied to intolerant and autocratic political behaviour, but the outstandingly lucid, and highly readable, book by Robert Paxton not only surveys fascism in practice – in Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany and in fascist movements and parties in many different countries – it also shows what its distinctive components are. What he calls the ‘mobilizing passions’ of fascism include the glorification of war and violence, expansionism, racism, a fixation on national solidarity, rejection of the legitimacy of diverse interests and values within a society, and, not least, a cult of the heroic leader, with the leader’s instincts counting for more than reasoned, evidence-based argument.

The Anatomy of Fascism

By Robert O. Paxton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fascism was the major political invention of the twentieth century and the source of much of its pain. How can we try to comprehend its allure and its horror? Is it a philosophy, a movement, an aesthetic experience? What makes states and nations become fascist?

Acclaimed historian Robert O. Paxton shows that in order to understand fascism we must look at it in action - at what it did, as much as what it said it was about. He explores its falsehoods and common threads; the social and political base that allowed it to prosper; its leaders and internal struggles;…


Amphibious Warfare 1000-1700

By David J.B. Trim (editor), Mark C. Fissel (editor),

Book cover of Amphibious Warfare 1000-1700: Commerce, State Formation and European Expansion

Although most studies of amphibious operations focus on twentieth-century examples, the chapters in this anthology study ship-to-shore assaults throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern era. I think the introductory chapter is a tour de force in explaining how amphibious warfare plays out in tactics, operations, and strategy. The principles remain timeless regardless of terrain or technology. Subsequent chapters represent stand-alone studies of reasons for successes or failures in amphibious battles in the Baltic, Mediterranean, Ireland, and Europe, whether on seashores or along riverbanks. The sum of all the chapters is greater than their individual pieces. I grasped that amphibious warfare sometimes expanded beyond military objectives to include establishing footholds for commercial trade, state development, and imperial expansion. 

Amphibious Warfare 1000-1700

By David J.B. Trim (editor), Mark C. Fissel (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amphibious Warfare 1000-1700 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume reconceptualizes amphibious warfare and also fills an important gap in its historiography, examining how it was conceived, practised and employed, from the Crusades, through the first wave of European exploration and colonization, the Price Revolution and the European wars of religion, up to the early Industrial Revolution and the beginnings of a new wave of imperialism. Essays examine issues related to strategy, operational art, tactics, logistics and military technology, but also consider commerce and culture. They reveal that amphibious warfare was often waged for economic reasons and was the quintessential warfare of European imperialism, for sea power was…


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