100 books like Behind the Glass

By Michael Lambek,

Here are 100 books that Behind the Glass fans have personally recommended if you like Behind the Glass. 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 March Violets

Neil Spark Author Of Karl's War

From my list on Germany between the world wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

The World At War, the first and arguably best documentary about the Second World War, was on television when I was 14. It fuelled my interest in history, especially about the reasons for the rise of the Nazis. History has many lessons to teach–if we are willing to listen–and one of the great teachers is Germany between the wars. It was a time of extremes: economic crises, social unrest, much of which was caused by the Nazis, and a flourishing bohemian, liberal culture. This febrile environment in which characters struggle with their personal conflict makes for great story-telling potential.

Neil's book list on Germany between the world wars

Neil Spark Why did Neil love this book?

I love Kerr’s fastidious attention to detail, which makes me feel I am watching the action he depicts. Set in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games, March Violets is the first in the Bernie Gunther thriller series.

Gunther is a former policeman, now a private eye, who has been hired to find out who was responsible for two murders. The world has bruised Gunther, who is a sarcastic but witty and likable hero. From this novel, I learned a lot about Berlin and the period. 

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked March Violets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the first crime novel in the late Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series - Berlin Noir - set in Hitler's Germany during the 1930s . . .

Winter, 1936. A man and his wife shot dead in their bed, their home burned. The woman's father, a millionaire industrialist, wants justice - and the priceless diamonds that disappeared along with his daughter's life. He turns to Bernhard Gunther, a private eye and former cop.

As Bernie follows the trail into the very heart of Nazi Germany, he's forced to confront a horrifying conspiracy. A trail that ends in the hell that…


Book cover of All the Sinners Bleed

David Miller Author Of Solved: How the World's Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis

From my list on books that evoke a place and take you there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love cities, and as a former Mayor, I understand their vibrant complexity. Like all of us, I am deeply worried about planetary breakdown, but unlike most, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the great work that leading mayors are undertaking globally to address the climate crisis. It's my belief that if more of us knew what is happening in some cities, and therefore what is possible in all, we would not only see that it is possible to avoid climate breakdown but fuelled by that hope, we would demand change from those we elect. You can hear more in the podcast I lead, Cities 1.5, or read more in my occasional newsletter on substack.

David's book list on books that evoke a place and take you there

David Miller Why did David love this book?

A novel about a black Sheriff’s efforts to catch a serial killer in the fictional small town and surrounding area of Charon County, Virginia, where racism is real and visceral, and the Confederates are considered heroes by many.

The book brilliantly transports you inside the complex racial and religious realities of everyday life in a small Virginia town. Crosby’s ear for language and understanding of daily life in such a place take you there. You can picture not just the characters but also very much the place—from the town to the farms to the buildings to the rooms in them—and to the food and alcohol people drink. Small-town America is brought to vivid life.

By S. A. Cosby,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All the Sinners Bleed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*** THE TIMES - THRILLER OF THE MONTH***
*** MAIL ON SUNDAY - BEST NEW FICTION***
*** FINANCIAL TIMES - BEST NEW CRIME BOOKS***

'A crackling good police procedural....fresh and exhilarating' STEPHEN KING

'S. A. Cosby's novels always hit the grand slam of crime fiction; unstoppable momentum, gripping intrigue and deep character with a hard and telling look at culture and society' MICHAEL CONNELLY

'Titus Crown is one of the most compelling characters I've read in a long time.' STEVE CAVANAGH

A BLACK SHERIFF. A SERIAL KILLER.
AND A SMALL TOWN READY TO COMBUST.

Titus Crown is the first Black…


Book cover of The Adversary

David Miller Author Of Solved: How the World's Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis

From my list on books that evoke a place and take you there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love cities, and as a former Mayor, I understand their vibrant complexity. Like all of us, I am deeply worried about planetary breakdown, but unlike most, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the great work that leading mayors are undertaking globally to address the climate crisis. It's my belief that if more of us knew what is happening in some cities, and therefore what is possible in all, we would not only see that it is possible to avoid climate breakdown but fuelled by that hope, we would demand change from those we elect. You can hear more in the podcast I lead, Cities 1.5, or read more in my occasional newsletter on substack.

David's book list on books that evoke a place and take you there

David Miller Why did David love this book?

I absolutely loved this book. Michael Crummy is an incredibly clear writer and tells an incredibly clear and compelling story about life in a Newfoundland outport (Mockbeggar) in the 1800s, focusing on a sibling rivalry between merchants, the widow Caine, and her brother Abel Strapp.

Life there is hasty, brutish, and short. The descriptions of daily life, including violence, made everyone in our book club squirm. But what I liked most was that he takes the reader right to Mockbeggar (and its neighbour, Nonsuch) - within a page or two, you feel like you are inside a church in Mockbeggar. From that point on, you never leave the outport and its way of life.

By Michael Crummey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An enthralling novel about the corruption of power and the power of corruption from one of our greatest writers, the award-winning, bestselling author of THE INNOCENTS (Extraordinary”—Wall Street Journal)

"A FLAWLESSLY CRAFTED NARRATIVE" —Wall Street Journal

"MASTERPIECE" —Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)

"CEASELESSLY ENTERTAINING" —Kirkus (Starred Review)

"ONE OF OUR BEST WRITERS" —Booklist (Starred Review)

In an isolated outport on Newfoundland's northern coastline, Abe Strapp is about to marry the daughter of a rival merchant to cement his hold on the shore when the Widow Caines arrives to throw the wedding and Abe's plans into chaos.

That ruthless act of sabotage…


Book cover of Herman Daly's Economics for a Full World: His Life and Ideas

David Miller Author Of Solved: How the World's Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis

From my list on books that evoke a place and take you there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love cities, and as a former Mayor, I understand their vibrant complexity. Like all of us, I am deeply worried about planetary breakdown, but unlike most, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the great work that leading mayors are undertaking globally to address the climate crisis. It's my belief that if more of us knew what is happening in some cities, and therefore what is possible in all, we would not only see that it is possible to avoid climate breakdown but fuelled by that hope, we would demand change from those we elect. You can hear more in the podcast I lead, Cities 1.5, or read more in my occasional newsletter on substack.

David's book list on books that evoke a place and take you there

David Miller Why did David love this book?

This book is a lovingly and expertly written biography of an underappreciated but vastly significant economist, Herman Daly. Professor Daly was an early proponent of ecological economics, and his work is becoming increasingly important and relevant if we want to stop climate breakdown.

One of the main reasons we are approaching climate breakdown is because neo-liberal economic theories and the economic system they have led to through trade agreements and the like rely on false or oversimplified assumptions—like pollution is free or that any resource constraints can be met by new inventions. The fact that neither is true—and the policy implications that set out from that conclusion - are persuasively documented in this biography.

The book is about economics and a great economist who brilliantly and convincingly demonstrated that the Planet and human resource demands on it must be included in our economic analysis and rules. As such, the biography…

By Peter A. Victor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Herman Daly's Economics for a Full World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the first biography of Professor Herman Daly, this book provides an in-depth account of one of the leading thinkers and most widely read writers on economics, environment and sustainability.

Herman Daly's economics for a full world, based on his steady-state economics, has been widely acknowledged through numerous prestigious international awards and prizes. Drawing on extensive interviews with Daly and in-depth analysis of his publications and debates, Peter Victor presents a unique insight into Daly's life from childhood to the present day, describing his intellectual development, inspirations and influence. Much of the book is devoted to a comprehensive account of…


Book cover of Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles

Chris Lukather Author Of Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary

From my list on Southern California architecture history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in art and architecture. I studied Fine Arts at CalArts. I’ve written three books on Mid-century home builders and designers, William Mellenthin, Jean Vandruff, and Robert Byrd, whose life and work in Southern California had gone mostly unnoticed during their lifetimes—with very little information written about them in the press. I spent three years on each book working with the families to uncover their lives and place in local history. This is information that would have otherwise been lost. When you research the life of one person in this profession, you inevitably learn about the life and work of others—some famous, some not. 

Chris' book list on Southern California architecture history

Chris Lukather Why did Chris love this book?

Having lived in West Hollywood for many years, I have always been interested in the beautiful and historically significant courtyard apartment buildings found throughout the city.

One of the more famous buildings, the Villa Primavera (seen in the Gloria Grahame, Humphrey Bogart film, In a Lonely Place) was designed and built by Arthur and Nina Zwebell in 1923. Their story is quite fascinating, since neither one was formerly trained or a licensed architect.

He designed the building’s exterior, while she designed the interior as well as the furniture.

By Stefanos Polyzoides, Roy Sherwood, J. Tice , Julius Shulman (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As cities throughout the U.S. struggle with housing shortages, valuable lessons can be learned from the principles thatunderlie the design of the courtyard house. Whether humble or sumptuous in scale, courtyards create a sense of privacyand enhance quality of life by creating the impression of green space for their residents.

Now available in its fifth printing, Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles documents the historical, technical, and cultural forces that shaped the development of this distinctive West Coast building type. The authors's in-depth research andanalysis is enhanced by the inclusion of numerous plans and technical drawings. Julius Shulman's sensuous black-and-whitephotographs document…


Book cover of On Altering Architecture

Graeme Brooker Author Of 50/50 Words for Reuse: A Minifesto

From my list on interior architecture and reuse of buildings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Graeme Brooker is a Professor and Head of Interior Design at the Royal College of Art London. He has written and published fifteen books on the histories and theories of inside spaces, many of which focus on the reuse of existing artefacts, buildings, and cities. Apart from teaching and writing, when he isn’t cycling, he is often staring intently at the sea in Brighton, where he currently lives.

Graeme's book list on interior architecture and reuse of buildings

Graeme Brooker Why did Graeme love this book?

On Altering Architecture belongs to a small and unique collection of publications that are involved in distinguishing the discipline of working with existing buildings. In the book, Scott constructs an inspired argument for the understanding of the significance of environmental design disciplines such as Interior design and installation art. The book is divided into twelve chapters, each an essay on reuse and overlapping disciplines. 

Each chapter is full of insightful and interesting case studies, expertly analysed and explained. On Altering Architecture is an absorbing and fascinating book that is packed with ideas, witty asides, mischievous digressions, and provocative thoughts. In parts the tone of the book is conversational, in others authoritative, each blends seamlessly into each other providing a compelling read. 

By Fred Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bringing together interior design and architectural theory, this exciting text looks at the common practices of building alteration, reconsidering established ideas and methods, to initiate the creation of a theory of the interior or interventional design.

Fred Scott examines in-depth case studies of interventional design from architectural history across the world - examples discussed are taken from the States, Europe and Japan. Scott expands and builds on the ideas of Viollet-le-Duc, structuralism and other thoughts to layout criteria for an art of intervention and change. The book draws on the philosophy of conservation, preservation and restoration, as well as exploring…


Book cover of Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain

Mary Soderstrom Author Of Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future

From my list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to say I'm a born-again pedestrian. After a childhood in car-friendly Southern California, I moved first to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Montreal. There I discovered the pleasures of living in walkable cities, and over the years I've explored them in a series of books about people, nature, and urban spaces in which the problems of spread-out, concrete-heavy cities take a front-row seat. The impact of the way we've built our cities over the last 100 years is becoming apparent, as carbon dioxide rises, driving climate changes. We must change the way we live, and the books I suggest give some insights about what to do and what not to do.

Mary's book list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city

Mary Soderstrom Why did Mary love this book?

Don't worry if you really don't care about housing in London or Liverpool: you should read this book about what happens when a country gives high-rise housing its best shot, and then messes things up. It is partly a cautionary tale about what happens when support for ambitious housing projects is killed by right-wing politicians, but also a tribute to the people who thought at first they'd died and gone to heaven when they got a flat with inside plumbing.  

By John Grindrod,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


TOWER BLOCKS. FLYOVERS. STREETS IN THE SKY. ONCE, THIS WAS THE FUTURE.
'Never has a trip from Croydon and back again been so fascinating. John Grindrod's witty and informative tour of Britain is a total treat'

CATHERINE CROFT, Director, Twentieth Century Society
Was Britain's postwar rebuilding the height of midcentury chic or the concrete embodiment of Crap Towns? John Grindrod decided to find out how blitzed, slum-ridden and crumbling 'austerity Britain' became, in a few short years, a space-age world of concrete, steel and glass.
On his journey he visits the sleepy Norfolk birthplace of Brutalism, the once-Blitzed city centre…


Book cover of Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin's Capital

Brandon M. Schechter Author Of The Stuff of Soldiers: A History of the Red Army in World War II Through Objects

From my list on books about Soviet stuff.

Why am I passionate about this?

Things have always been a window into the past for me, and from an early age I was fascinated by communism as a rejection of the world in which I was raised. Looking at how people from a very different society made and used stuff allows you to access aspects of their experience that are deeply human. As such my research has focused on how people interacted with things as a way to examine how politics, ideology, and major historical events play out on the ground – as a way of capturing individual human experience.

Brandon's book list on books about Soviet stuff

Brandon M. Schechter Why did Brandon love this book?

If you have spent any time in Moscow, you can’t help but notice the seven Stalinist vysotki (“tall buildings” – not to be confused with capitalist skyscrapers) that dot the landscape. I love how this book provides a full history and context of how these buildings embodied many aspects of Soviet ideology, with all of its contradictions.

Zubovich combines this with the stories of the people connected with them – those displaced to make way for their construction, Gulag inmates who were key to their construction, and the Soviet elites who lived in them. 

By Katherine Zubovich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An in-depth history of the Stalinist skyscraper

In the early years of the Cold War, the skyline of Moscow was forever transformed by a citywide skyscraper building project. As the steel girders of the monumental towers went up, the centuries-old metropolis was reinvented to embody the greatness of Stalinist society. Moscow Monumental explores how the quintessential architectural works of the late Stalin era fundamentally reshaped daily life in the Soviet capital.

Drawing on a wealth of original archival research, Katherine Zubovich examines the decisions and actions of Soviet elites-from top leaders to master architects-and describes the experiences of ordinary Muscovites…


Book cover of Designing Your Natural House

Jeanie and David Stiles Author Of Cabin: A Guide to Building the Perfect Getaway

From my list on hand-illustrated books on building.

Why are we passionate about this?

As the authors of 27 hand-illustrated books, we are acutely aware of the time and skill required for good rendering. We are old-schoolers ourselves, having cut our teeth on “how-to” books before computers came into vogue. Our readers often tell us that a computer drawing does not have the same appeal and clarity as hand drawing. We are able to ‘talk’ a reader through the process of building something with our drawings. We have also found that the best illustrated books often have the best content!

Jeanie's book list on hand-illustrated books on building

Jeanie and David Stiles Why did Jeanie love this book?

This is an outlier that maybe not many have heard about or read. It features two award-winning designers who define, and illustrate, some 200 “rules of good architecture”. The artwork and lettering are by Malcolm Wells—an architect well-known for his sharp wit and off-beat leanings (underground houses being one). The messaging is accurate and timeless. The tone is light, as is the author’s back-and-forth banter. Wells’s illustrations bring the message home with clarity and force. It is a book that is at the same time funny, useful, and beautiful. Good luck finding one! 

Book cover of Experiencing Architecture

Witold Rybczynski Author Of Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City

From my list on architecture for non-architects.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. Although I’ve written more than twenty books on a variety of subjects, I was trained as an architect and I’ve designed and built houses, researched low cost housing, and taught budding architects for four decades. I was architecture critic for Wigwag and Slate and I’ve written for numerous national magazines and newspapers. Perhaps more important, my wife and I built our own house, mixing concrete, sawing wood, and hammering nails. I wrote a book about that, too.

Witold's book list on architecture for non-architects

Witold Rybczynski Why did Witold love this book?

Many books about architecture are like cookbooks, that is, they are written for the cook—the architect—and are concerned with how to make the stuff. But for the lay person, the joy of architecture lies in the actual experience of buildings; good architecture makes you feel good. This classic, written in 1962 by a wise old Dane, is a wonderful guide to the many sensory ways in which we experience buildings, old and new.

By Steen Eiler Rasmussen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic examination of superb design through the centuries.

Widely regarded as a classic in the field, Experiencing Architecture explores the history and promise of good design. Generously illustrated with historical examples of designing excellence—ranging from teacups, riding boots, and golf balls to the villas of Palladio and the fish-feeding pavilion of Beijing's Winter Palace—Rasmussen's accessible guide invites us to appreciate architecture not only as a profession, but as an art that shapes everyday experience.

In the past, Rasmussen argues, architecture was not just an individual pursuit, but a community undertaking. Dwellings were built with a natural feeling for place,…


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