100 books like Bento's Sketchbook

By John Berger,

Here are 100 books that Bento's Sketchbook fans have personally recommended if you like Bento's Sketchbook. 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 Henry Moore's Sheep Sketchbook

Eduardo Côrte-Real Author Of The Smooth Guide to Travel Drawing

From my list on unassumingly sketching the world around us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've taught Drawing in universities since 1985. Currently, I work at IADE-Universidade Europeia in Lisbon, Portugal. Long before that, at the age of five, I drew a volcano. A mountain exploding on the top as a delirious shiny crown and lava running from its flanks making a pattern of vibrant reddish-yellow. Proudly, I showed it to my mother. She exclaimed: What a beautiful pineapple! I only retained the word ‘beautiful’ and never stopped drawing. Trained as an architect, I discovered the virtue of drawing what we see, while experiencing the act of being there. I also became a compulsive reader, perhaps to experience the act of being elsewhere. 

Eduardo's book list on unassumingly sketching the world around us

Eduardo Côrte-Real Why did Eduardo love this book?

Where else can we find 159 sheep and 49 lambs sketched by a celebrated modern sculptor? This flock is a treatise of graphic easiness and uncompromising observation exercises. A must-see for anyone armed with a ballpoint pen and a rural disposition. There are also texts by Moore himself and Kenneth Clark, the art historian dethroned by Berger as the great British Broadcasting cultural oracle. Although Clark suggests that Moore’s drawings show some love for the sheep, the latter’s text is a love letter to drawing, simply.  

By Henry Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Henry Moore's Sheep Sketchbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In February 1972 Henry Moore's sculpture studios in the English countryside at Much Hadham were filled with the preparations for his retrospective exhibition in Florence. He retreated to a small studio overlooking the fields where a local farmer grazed his sheep. The sheep came very close to the window, attracting his attention, and he began to draw them. Initially he saw them as four-legged balls of wool, but his vision changed as he explored what they were really like - the way they moved, the shape of their bodies under the fleece. They also developed strong human and biblical associations,…


Book cover of David Hockney: A Yorkshire Sketchbook

Eduardo Côrte-Real Author Of The Smooth Guide to Travel Drawing

From my list on unassumingly sketching the world around us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've taught Drawing in universities since 1985. Currently, I work at IADE-Universidade Europeia in Lisbon, Portugal. Long before that, at the age of five, I drew a volcano. A mountain exploding on the top as a delirious shiny crown and lava running from its flanks making a pattern of vibrant reddish-yellow. Proudly, I showed it to my mother. She exclaimed: What a beautiful pineapple! I only retained the word ‘beautiful’ and never stopped drawing. Trained as an architect, I discovered the virtue of drawing what we see, while experiencing the act of being there. I also became a compulsive reader, perhaps to experience the act of being elsewhere. 

Eduardo's book list on unassumingly sketching the world around us

Eduardo Côrte-Real Why did Eduardo love this book?

This book answers the excruciating question: Where are the antinomic antipodes of Los Angeles located? The British master of Pop Art, a long-time inhabitant of LA from 1964 to 2019, filled this sketchbook in his native England. There are no words in this book except for an apocryphal introduction and Hockney’s hand brushed “Yorkshire April 04”. If Henry Moore masters the ballpoint pen, David Hockney excels in watercolor. But the brush is not primarily used to fill in surfaces but to draw. The colorful water flows in fast gestures easy and attentive. “I could do this,” one thinks. Only if I had my own Yorkshire and my faraway LA. The book is also a prequel to Hockney’s most recent work, fully bucolic, produced in Normandy, France where, according to him, people know how to live. Hockney pretends to do everything unassumingly. Of course we know that this is not…

By David Hockney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In recent years David Hockney has returned to England to paint the landscape of his childhood in East Yorkshire. Although his passionate interest in new technologies has led him to develop a virtuoso drawing technique on an iPad, he has also been accompanied outdoors by the traditional sketchbook, an invaluable tool as he works quickly to capture the changing light and fleeting effects of the weather. Executed in watercolour and ink, these panoramic scenes have the spatial complexity of finished paintings - the broad sweep of sky or road, the patchwork tapestry of land - yet convey the immediacy of…


Book cover of Stoner

Terence M. Green Author Of Shadow of Ashland

From my list on searching for answers in the past and present.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are things expressed only in writing, never spoken aloud in our culture. We can find them in books, in the honesty and insights of those willing to take the time and make the effort to say what they feel and think. Another reason to read is for the sheer joy of a story well told, one that can open both the mind and the heart. I have published 7 novels and a collection of short stories, have just retired from teaching creative writing at the university level. My life has been spent among books. Simply, I am in awe of the ones recommended here.

Terence's book list on searching for answers in the past and present

Terence M. Green Why did Terence love this book?

This novel is the story of William Stoner, raised on a US midwestern farm, who becomes an English professor at the University of Missouri. It follows his life throughout, in simple prose, becoming both moving and profound. It was introduced to me by a knowledgeable NY city book dealer back in the 90s. I pick it up every few years for another reading experience. It’s become a bit of an obscure classic.

By John Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2013

'It's the most marvellous discovery for everyone who loves literature' Ian McEwan, BBC Radio 4

Colum McCann once called Stoner one of the great forgotten novels of the past century, but it seems it is forgotten no longer - in 2013 translations of Stoner began appearing on bestseller lists across Europe. Forty-eight years after its first, quiet publication in the US, Stoner is finally finding the wide and devoted readership it deserves. Have you read it yet?

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature…


Book cover of The Acme Novelty Date Book: Sketches and Diary Pages in Facsimile

Eduardo Côrte-Real Author Of The Smooth Guide to Travel Drawing

From my list on unassumingly sketching the world around us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've taught Drawing in universities since 1985. Currently, I work at IADE-Universidade Europeia in Lisbon, Portugal. Long before that, at the age of five, I drew a volcano. A mountain exploding on the top as a delirious shiny crown and lava running from its flanks making a pattern of vibrant reddish-yellow. Proudly, I showed it to my mother. She exclaimed: What a beautiful pineapple! I only retained the word ‘beautiful’ and never stopped drawing. Trained as an architect, I discovered the virtue of drawing what we see, while experiencing the act of being there. I also became a compulsive reader, perhaps to experience the act of being elsewhere. 

Eduardo's book list on unassumingly sketching the world around us

Eduardo Côrte-Real Why did Eduardo love this book?

This is probably the book, in the entire history of publishing, in which the author repeatedly apologizes for having it published. Of course, this is entirely false modesty. Ware is one of the more acclaimed and creative graphic tellers of our time. This is a facsimile of his sketchbooks from 1986 to 1995. A second one would follow but this is the first and, consequently, closer to the source of his creative origins. But my main reason for suggesting this book in this context is the way he draws by observing what is around him as a sort of breathing exercise that keeps him alive and going.

By Chris Ware,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Outtakes Of An American Genius Acclaimed cartoonist Chris Ware reveals the outtakes of his genius in these intimate, imaginative, and whimsical sketches collected from the years during which he completed his award-winning graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth (Pantheon). This book is as much a companion volume to Jimmy Corrigan - one of the great crossover success stories - as a tremendous art collection from of one of America's most interesting and popular graphic artists. Ware has a passion for drawing that is surprisingly wideranging in style and subject. This book surprises the reader on every page…


Book cover of Benedict de Spinoza: An Introduction

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

My first book is an oldie but a goodie (and is due to come out soon in a third edition). Published in 1987, this is a highly readable and accessible introduction to Spinoza’s philosophy. It includes discussion of his views on God, the human being, the passions, the life of reason, and our ultimate happiness. It also covers his political thought and his views on religion. I recommend this book to anyone approaching Spinoza for the first time. Because the Ethics is such a difficult read, it is good to have a guide like this by your side.

By Henry Allison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the rear cover of this 254 page book: "This highly acclaimed book provides a general introduction to the life and works of one of the major philosophers of the seventeenth century. In this revised edition, Henry E. Allison has rewritten the central chapters on the 'Ethics', taking into consideration the most important recent literature on Spinoza's metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, and moral theory. This is an excellent general introduction to Spinoza's thought. Allison expounds Spinoza sympathetically, but without glossing over the difficulties. Though written in a way which should make it accessible to undergraduates, his book also contains much that…


Book cover of Theological-Political Treatise: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

Rick Strassman Author Of DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible

From my list on things we don’t normally perceive or consider.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in the interface of biology and the mind, and between the mind and usually invisible worlds. Both Philip K Dick and the medieval Jewish philosophers labor mightily to unpack and communicate realms of the imagination residing in science fiction as well as Hebrew Bible prophecy. Likewise, the influx of Eastern religious practices and beliefs have pointed to areas of consciousness previously unknown to the West.

Rick's book list on things we don’t normally perceive or consider

Rick Strassman Why did Rick love this book?

Ostensibly an implacable intellectual foe of Maimonides’ “Guide,” this twice-excommunicated Jewish philosopher makes his own compelling arguments for the basis of spiritual experience/prophecy. At the same time, one senses a powerful compatibility with his philosophical opponent’s viewpoints.

By Benedictus de Spinoza, Robert Harvey Munroe Elwes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theological-Political Treatise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Theological-Political Treatise (Latin: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus) by Baruch Spinoza, was originally published in Latin in 1670. The work is a pre-emptive defence of his post-humously published magnum opus, Ethics (Latin: Ethica, ordine geometrico demonstrata), a book which he expected a barrage of harsh criticism for.In the treatise, Spinoza elaborated a harsh systematic criticism of Judaism and general organised religion. Arguing that theology and philosophy needed to be kept separate. Distinguishing between theology's goal of obedience, and philosophy's attempt to understand rational truth. Spinoza also argued that claimed supernatural events, like prophecy and miracles have natural explanations. Furthermore, he argued that God…


Book cover of Spinoza on Learning to Live Together

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

James is one of our best Spinoza scholars, and she writes with a clarity and urgency not often found in history of philosophy literature. This is a broad study that covers a lot of ground in just over two hundred pages, with a particular emphasis on how Spinoza envisions political and social life. They are mostly previously published essays, but they all hang together under the theme of how we, as rational and passionate beings, can live together democratically, cooperatively, and in peace. An excellent contribution to envisioning Spinoza as an important moral and political thinker.

By Susan James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spinoza on Learning to Live Together as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Philosophising, as Spinoza conceives it, is the project of learning to live joyfully. Yet this is also a matter of learning to live together, and the surest manifestation of philosophical insight is the capacity to sustain a harmonious way of life. Here, Susan James defends this overall interpretation of Spinoza's philosophy and explores its bearing on contemporary philosophical debates around issues such as religious toleration, putting our knowledge to work, and
the environmental crisis.

Part I focuses on Spinoza's epistemology. Philosophical understanding empowers us by giving us access to truths about ourselves and the world, and by motivating us to…


Book cover of Spinoza on Reason, Passions, and the Supreme Good

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

This is another important contribution to our understanding of Spinoza as a moral philosopher. It is a denser read than the first three books, but fascinating nonetheless for those already with a little Spinoza under their belt. Rather than concentrating on just the latter parts of the Ethics, where most scholars interested in Spinoza’s moral philosophy focus and where we find the mature discussion of the “free person” who lives under the “guidance of reason”, Sangiacomo is especially concerned with the evolution of Spinoza’s moral thought from his earliest writings to his final, uncompleted work. He considers tensions within, and pressures upon, Spinoza’s understanding of the “Supreme Good” and how to achieve it, and the changes that that account consequently undergoes. Sangiacomo’s thesis is thus both historical and philosophical.

By Andrea Sangiacomo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spinoza on Reason, Passions, and the Supreme Good as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spinoza's thought is at the centre of an ever growing interest. Spinoza's moral philosophy, in particular, points to a radical way of understanding how human beings can become free and enjoy supreme happiness. And yet, there is still much disagreement about how exactly Spinoza's recipe is supposed to work. For long time, Spinoza has been presented as an arch rationalist who would identify in the purely intellectual cultivation of reason the key for ethical progress.
Andrea Sangiacomo offers a new understanding of Spinoza's project, by showing how he himself struggled during his career to develop a moral philosophy that could…


Book cover of Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

It is impossible to read Spinoza and not think often of Thomas Hobbes. Spinoza read Hobbes’s works and was clearly influenced by the English philosopher both in his account of human nature and, especially, in his political thinking. This is, as far as I know, the first book devoted explicitly to the two thinkers together. Field’s focus is on the political, and she does a beautiful job of analyzing and distinguishing different conceptions of ‘power’ (both in the individual and in the group), as well as illuminating similarities and contrasts between these two of the most important early modern thinkers on politics and the state.

By Sandra Leonie Field,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We live in an age of growing dissatisfaction with the standard operations of representative democracy. The solution, according to a long radical democratic tradition, is the unmediated power of the people. Mass plebiscites and mass protest movements are celebrated as the quintessential expression of popular power, and this power promises to transcend ordinary institutional politics. But the outcomes of mass political phenomena can be just as disappointing as the
ordinary politics they sought to overcome, breeding skepticism about democratic politics in all its forms.

Potentia argues that the very meaning of popular power needs to be rethought. It offers a…


Book cover of The Spinoza Problem

Elias Aboujaoude Author Of A Leader's Destiny: Why Psychology, Personality, and Character Make All the Difference

From my list on the psychological quest for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a psychiatry professor, researcher, and author at Stanford University. Besides OCD, my research has focused on the interface between technology and psychology, both in its negative manifestations (e.g., video game addiction, online narcissism, cyberbullying) and positive applications (e.g., telemedicine, virtual reality therapy, AI digital therapeutics). My reading tastes and non-scientific writing topics reflect the same interests—deep and highly personal psychological explorations of individuals on a quest for meaning or facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, symptoms, or character tests.  

Elias' book list on the psychological quest for meaning

Elias Aboujaoude Why did Elias love this book?

I loved the thrilling interweaving of historical fact with creative fiction, psychology with politics, and high Golden Age Amsterdam culture with Nazi Germany depravity.

Irv Yalom reimagines the inner lives of two men who couldn’t be more different, and whose individual and unique fates history still somehow found a way to unite. 

By Irvin Yalom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A haunting portrait of Arthur Rosenberg, one of Nazism's chief architects, and his obsession with one of history's most influential Jewish thinkers

In The Spinoza Problem, Irvin Yalom spins fact and fiction into an unforgettable psycho-philosophical drama. Yalom tells the story of the seventeenth-century thinker Baruch Spinoza, whose philosophy led to his own excommunication from the Jewish community, alongside that of the rise and fall of the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, who two hundred years later during World War II ordered his task force to plunder Spinoza's ancient library in an effort to deal with the Nazis' "Spinoza Problem."

Seamlessly…


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Interested in Baruch Spinoza, philosophy, and drawing?

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