100 books like Babette's Feast and Other Stories

By Isak Dinesen,

Here are 100 books that Babette's Feast and Other Stories fans have personally recommended if you like Babette's Feast and Other Stories. 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 The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and Its Citrus Fruit

Marc Millon Author Of Italy in a Wineglass: The Taste of History

From my list on food and wine that take you places and allow you to travel in time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been researching and writing about wine, food, and travel for over 40 years (my first book, The Wine and Food of Europe, co-authored with my photographer wife Kim Millon, was published in 1982). I love to travel, I love to eat, and I love to drink wine. Most of all, I am interested in placing food and wine within a cultural and historical context. I have a weekly podcast, “Wine, Food, and Travel with Marc Millon,” which allows me to explore these topics by speaking directly to people. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I do.

Marc's book list on food and wine that take you places and allow you to travel in time

Marc Millon Why did Marc love this book?

I could almost immediately smell the gorgeous scent of citrus wafting from the pages of this beautiful book through the magic of Helena Atlee’s precisely detailed writing.

Who would have thought that the story of Italy’s varied and numerous citrus plantations would take me on a journey all across the country, from Sicily’s west coast to the fragrant lemon gardens of Lake Garda, and in time from when the Arabs introduced bitter oranges up to the workings of the citrus industry today.

I love this book because it simply tells the fragrant story of how fruit, in various manifestations, has come to be cultivated all around the country and to represent something of the soul and the spirit of the Italian people.

By Helena Attlee,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Land Where Lemons Grow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Land Where Lemons Grow is the sweeping story of Italy's cultural history told through the history of its citrus crops. From the early migration of citrus from the foothills of the Himalayas to Italy's shores to the persistent role of unique crops such as bergamot (and its place in the perfume and cosmetics industries) and the vital role played by Calabria's unique Diamante citrons in the Jewish celebration of Sukkoth, author Helena Attlee brings the fascinating history and its gustatory delights to life.

Whether the Battle of Oranges in Ivrea, the gardens of Tuscany, or the story of the…


Book cover of Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally

Colin Duncan Taylor Author Of Menu from the Midi

From my list on food books for thinking, not cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been living in the south of France for 20 years. Perhaps inevitably, I have developed a profound interest in all aspects of our local gastronomy – growing, cooking, and eating food, and sampling the enormous cellar of wines and spirits. This has led me to discover the history and legends, the festivals and fairs, and the cultural background surrounding the most iconic culinary specialities from the south of France. Through my writing, I share my love of this wondrous land and all the good things within it.

Colin's book list on food books for thinking, not cooking

Colin Duncan Taylor Why did Colin love this book?

If you like wine, you need to read this book. Winemaking goes back at least 8,000 years, but only in recent times has so much of its production been determined by the application of science, and the taste of the wines we drink dictated by wine critics, appellation tasting committees, and global markets. This book celebrates the innovators who are trying to make wines that are more natural, fuller in character, and more exciting. Their approach also has potential benefits for human health and our environment, and reading this book has sent me off on wonderful journeys through the south of France trying to find such oddities as orange wine (no, orange wine is not made from oranges!)

By Isabelle Legeron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Find out more about natural wine-made naturally from organically or biodynamically grown grapes - from leading authority Isabelle Legeron MW.

Wine-making has become ever-more unnatural, from the use of blanket crop-spraying in vineyards, to the over-use of sulfites and additives in the cellar, but luckily there is another way, as Master of Wine Isabelle Legeron explains. Isabelle, who campaigns for natural wine around the world and runs the hugely successful RAW wine fairs in London, Berlin and New York, reveals why the finest, most authentic wines are those made naturally. While currently not regulated by an official definition, natural wines…


Book cover of A Treatise on Adulteration of Food, and Culinary Poisons, Exhibiting the Fraudulent Sophistications of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spirituous Liquors, Tea, Oil

Colin Duncan Taylor Author Of Menu from the Midi

From my list on food books for thinking, not cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been living in the south of France for 20 years. Perhaps inevitably, I have developed a profound interest in all aspects of our local gastronomy – growing, cooking, and eating food, and sampling the enormous cellar of wines and spirits. This has led me to discover the history and legends, the festivals and fairs, and the cultural background surrounding the most iconic culinary specialities from the south of France. Through my writing, I share my love of this wondrous land and all the good things within it.

Colin's book list on food books for thinking, not cooking

Colin Duncan Taylor Why did Colin love this book?

First published in 1820, this book reminds us that nefarious practices have always been used by food producers, and that these practices are generally intended to boost profits with little concern for human health. ‘There is death in the pot!’ the author tells us in his preface, and he goes on to catalogue how products such as beer and bread, cheese and cognac, olive oil and vinegar were all being adulterated or counterfeited. More unusually, he goes on to explain case by case how the layperson can unmask the fraudsters with a little knowledge of home chemistry. Unfortunately for his readers past and present, technological developments since 1820 have allowed unscrupulous purveyors of human sustenance to develop countless new ways of disguising poor-quality or badly-deteriorated food.

By Friedrich Christian Accum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Treatise on Adulteration of Food, and Culinary Poisons, Exhibiting the Fraudulent Sophistications of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spirituous Liquors, Tea, Oil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of Des grognards à Napoléon : Les cuisines de l'Empire suivi de Recettes pour les cérémonies et le bivouac

Colin Duncan Taylor Author Of Menu from the Midi

From my list on food books for thinking, not cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been living in the south of France for 20 years. Perhaps inevitably, I have developed a profound interest in all aspects of our local gastronomy – growing, cooking, and eating food, and sampling the enormous cellar of wines and spirits. This has led me to discover the history and legends, the festivals and fairs, and the cultural background surrounding the most iconic culinary specialities from the south of France. Through my writing, I share my love of this wondrous land and all the good things within it.

Colin's book list on food books for thinking, not cooking

Colin Duncan Taylor Why did Colin love this book?

This book is only available in French, but I include it because it provides such an impressive overview of a period when French cooking began to establish itself as Europe’s pre-eminent cuisine. I referred to it frequently during my own research into French gastronomy. In a few short pages we learn about the emergence of the first celebrity chefs and food critics, the evolution of how food was served in polite society in France and other parts of Europe, and the way in which new ingredients such as maize and potatoes became staples of the peasant diet. There is also a section on Napoleon’s own culinary preferences, which reveals more about the tastes of the common soldier than the general.

By Jean-Paul Escalettes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Des grognards à Napoléon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement

Janet Hubbard Author Of Champagne

From my list on modern day France containing food and wine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went to Paris the first time when I was nineteen. I was sitting in a cheap restaurant when a man entered carrying a burlap sack filled with escargots, and put some on my plate (all very unsanitary) for me to taste. Delicious! I was in France in the 1970s when Robert Parker was discovering French wine. (We didn’t meet then, but did after my series was published many years later.)  Subsequent stays in Paris and other areas of France (Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy) afforded me a food and wine sensibility that over decades has permeated my lifestyle, my friendships—and my writing.

Janet's book list on modern day France containing food and wine

Janet Hubbard Why did Janet love this book?

The description above segues nicely into The New Paris by Lindsey Traumata, published in 2017. Traumata now has a second book published, and hosts a podcast, and is popular on social media. I have spent at least a month (and sometimes three) in Paris annually over the past six years and think of Traumata’s first book as a good friend. She writes wonderful profiles of people, and she keeps readers updated about bistros, winemakers, new cuisine. Her writing is elegant, and I read her descriptions as avidly as I do a novel, constantly making notes. So different from the usual guidebooks.

By Lindsey Tramuta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The city long-adored for its medieval beauty, old-timey brasseries, and corner cafes has even more to offer today. In the last few years, a flood of new ideas and creative locals has infused a once-static, traditional city with a new open-minded sensibility and energy. Journalist Lindsey Tramuta offers detailed insight into the rapidly evolving worlds of food, wine, pastry, coffee, beer, fashion, and design in the delightful city of Paris. Tramuta puts the spotlight on the new trends and people that are making France's capital a more whimsical, creative, vibrant, and curious place to explore than its classical reputation might…


Book cover of Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

Sharon Farmer Author Of Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology, and the Daily Lives of the Poor

From my list on the culture of France and medieval modern poverty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started out as a religion major in college, but soon became frustrated with the abstract thoughts of privileged white males. I wanted to understand the passions and struggles of ordinary people, and soon became convinced that the examination of the distant past sheds important light on the present. It’s not that I don’t care about the world around me right now. Rather, I am convinced that those who look only at this decade, this century, or even the last century fail to recognize some of the most powerful cultural forces that have shaped our most fundamental understandings of gender, wealth, poverty, work, and so much more.

Sharon's book list on the culture of France and medieval modern poverty

Sharon Farmer Why did Sharon love this book?

If we want to understand medieval or modern Paris, we need to gain some familiarity with all of the stages along the way. Robb provides some episodic portraits of some of those stages, and the chapter on the eighteenth-century architect Charles-Axel Guillaumot is one of the most arresting discussions I’ve ever seen of how the actions of those living in one epoch can reverberate for generations to come. Guillaumot literally saved Paris from collapsing in on its medieval past by bracing up the swiss-cheese-like network of tunnels that had been left behind by its medieval quarry workers.

By Graham Robb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction, of the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten.

A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter. A well-dressed woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For…


Book cover of Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette

Jessica Stilling Author Of Between Before and After

From my list on a little Parisian flair.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an author currently living in rural southern Vermont, though I’ve also lived in Chicago and New York City. When I was a child I wanted nothing more than to visit the city of lights and when I finally started going, I was awestruck by the beauty and the history of the city of Paris. It’s the little things about Paris, the crooked cobblestone, the myriad of bookstores, the flowers along the boulevards, and those steel metro signs that look like you’re about to enter a terrifying circus. It all comes together in the most lovely ways. My newest novel, Between Before and After, is in many ways a love letter to the city.

Jessica's book list on a little Parisian flair

Jessica Stilling Why did Jessica love this book?

This biography of the famous French authoress Collette explores the sensuously Parisian life of the famed and inflammatory author. It explores many of her sensuous love affairs along with her fabulous accomplishments. This biography marches through time in Paris, from the Belle Epoch to the lean years of the World Wars, to the shining beacon Paris became in the later half of the twentieth century. Through the life of the indomitable authoress Collette, the city of Paris truly sparkles as we see that her history is so entwined with the city’s history.

By Judith Thurman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who, from her first appearance in Paris salons as a child bride in 1900, scandalised and enraptured all of France.


Book cover of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Tyler R. Tichelaar Author Of Vampire Grooms and Spectre Brides: The Marriage of French and British Gothic Literature, 1789-1897

From my list on classic French gothic you probably never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been attracted to the Gothic before I even knew the term. From watching The Munsters as a child to wanting to live in a haunted house and devouring classic Gothic novels like The Mysteries of Udolpho and Dracula, I’ve never been able to get enough of the Gothic. After fully exploring British Gothic in my book The Gothic Wanderer, I discovered the French Gothic tradition, which made me realize how universal the genre is. Everyone can relate to its themes of fear, death, loss, guilt, forgiveness, and redemption. On some level, we are all Gothic wanderers, trying to find meaning in what is too often a nightmarish world.

Tyler's book list on classic French gothic you probably never heard of

Tyler R. Tichelaar Why did Tyler love this book?

You may know this book as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but you probably don’t really know it. Films, most notably the Disney cartoon, have grossly distorted this novel, often having Esmeralda ride off into the sunset with Phoebus. But the novel is really a very dark, Gothic story of love and lust, and one of the first existential novels. Frollo and Quasimodo both love Esmeralda, but she loves Phoebus, and he only loves himself. In the end, everyone dies, allowing their lust to destroy their common sense. Hugo wrote it to help popularize and save Notre-Dame Cathedral from falling into further disrepair. It influenced British author William Harrison Ainsworth to write The Tower of London, thus revitalizing British Gothic in a new way just as it did French Gothic.

By Victor Hugo, Lucy Corvino (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Hunchback of Notre Dame as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Victor Hugo's great story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame and his unrequited love for the dancer, Esmeralda. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes theme discussions and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom and at home to further engage the reader in the story.


Book cover of Village to Village: Misadventures in France

Jesse Fink Author Of The Eagle in the Mirror

From my list on books by Australian writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in England to Australian parents and have lived most of my life in Australia. My family all live there, and I grew up in Sydney. Most of my books have been about Australian-related themes or historical figures. I don’t think enough is known about Australian history outside Australia. Australian writers have always struggled for recognition outside Australia. Publishing can be an unfair business. I’m more interested in reading nonfiction than fiction. True stories are much harder to write and get right, and there’s a bigger responsibility involved. You’re dealing with real people. The dead ones also have families.

Jesse's book list on books by Australian writers

Jesse Fink Why did Jesse love this book?

One of the original Aussie literary expats in the 1940s, Kershaw penned this slim but sparkling memoir of his time in Paris and rural France before his death in 1995.

It is superbly written and completely unknown. Grab a copy if you’re lucky enough to find it. It proves that books don’t have to be long to stick in the memory. Sometimes, the shortest ones are the best. 

By Alister Kershaw,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this witty and entertaining illustrated memoir, Alister Kershaw describes the pleasures of his prolonged residence in France - a country of villages - from 1948, when even Paris was a series of villages. In post-war Paris, Kershaw lived a penniless but joyous existence and captures a Paris long gone. The author conjures Paris prior to the triumph of the technocrats and town planners. It also traces the author's move into the Berry, two hours south of Paris, where he lives in a hamlet of six houses and finds a rural life amongst a small group of traditional Sancerre winemakers.…


Book cover of Kiki's Memoirs

Jim Fergus Author Of The Memory of Love

From my list on 1920’s Paris les années folles - the “crazy years”.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young boy, I dreamed of becoming a novelist. I was fascinated and inspired by Les Années Folles, The Crazy Years of 1920’s Paris, when artists of all disciplines, from countries all around the world came together electrifying the City of Lights with an artistic passion. My mother was French. France is my 2nd country, where I spend a portion of each year. While researching my novel, The Memory of Love, I stayed in the actual atelier of my protagonist Chrysis Jungbluth, a young, largely unknown painter of that era. I visited, too, the addresses of dozens of the artists who bring the era alive again in our imagination. 

Jim's book list on 1920’s Paris les années folles - the “crazy years”

Jim Fergus Why did Jim love this book?

This is an intimate, first-person account of 1920’s Paris, and the life of one of the most central characters of the period—the model, singer, and artist, Kiki of Montparnasse as she was known by all. Born in Burgundy in 1901, christened Alice Prin, and raised by her grandmother in abject poverty, at age twelve she was shipped off to Paris to live with the mother she had never known.

The young Alice’s fierce survival instincts immediately translated into a precocious thirst for experience. At fourteen she had her “first contact with art” when she began posing nude for a sculptor. Thereafter, she assumed the name and embraced life as the irrepressible Kiki. Lover of Man Ray, beloved friend of Soutine, Jean Cocteau, and many other artists of the period, she became the toast of Montparnasse, one of the century’s first truly independent women. Man Ray, Foujita, Kisling, and others immortalized…

By Billy Klüver (editor), Julie Martin (editor), Man Ray (photographer)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Featuring an introduction by Ernest Hemingway and published for the first time in America, the unexpurgated memoirs of a model who reigned over Montparnasse in the twenties created a sensation when they first appeared in France in 1929.


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