100 books like Between Meals

By A.J. Liebling,

Here are 100 books that Between Meals fans have personally recommended if you like Between Meals. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Parting the Waters

Jim Carrier Author Of A Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist who learned his craft on the job in the tumultuous 1960s, I happened to find myself living in states where racial history was being written. Reporting that story required me to understand why discrimination, poverty, and violence remained so deeply rooted in modern America. I wrote Ten Ways to Fight Hate, I made a movie about civil rights martyrs, and, after seeing people from around the world making a pilgrimage to the sites of the civil rights struggle, published my guidebook. Over the course of a 50-year career, I have written a million words. I am proudest of those that tried to right wrongs, and sometimes did.

Jim's book list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement

Jim Carrier Why did Jim love this book?

As I drove through the South researching my guidebook to civil rights sites, my back seat was filled with books. Atop the pile was Taylor Branch’s magisterial three-volume history – America in the King Years 1954-1968: Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan’s Edge.

Though encyclopedic, Branch’s story-telling is riveting—weaving together personalities, legalities, strategies, and geography in a way that made me feel as if I were there witnessing history as it was made. Taylor’s detail, reflecting a journalist’s quest for who, what, where, when, how, and why, showed me that these stories could best be told, understood, and felt where they happened.

By Taylor Branch,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Parting the Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his essential America in the King Years series, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a “compelling…masterfully told” (The Wall Street Journal) account of Martin Luther King’s early years and rise to greatness.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American Civil Rights Movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.

Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of…


Book cover of The Odyssey

Philippa M. Steele Author Of Exploring Writing Systems and Practices in the Bronze Age Aegean

From my list on highlighting the fragility of human culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor at Cambridge University, and following years of training in ancient languages and linguistics, I am currently running a research project on the visual aspects of writing systems. Recently, I’ve become passionate about using research on ancient languages and writing to try to help communities today who are in danger of losing their linguistic traditions (I've started an Endangered Writing Network)–which is why the fragility of human culture is high on my agenda. Ultimately, I’d like the world to be a better place for my baby son to grow up in, and I hope to use my academic work to help people in some small way.

Philippa's book list on highlighting the fragility of human culture

Philippa M. Steele Why did Philippa love this book?

This story has always struck me as a quest to identify and regain humanity, as its hero repeatedly faces strange and powerful obstacles to his voyage home. I first read it as a child and then again, but in Greek, as a student—a time in life when anyone is trying to find their feet as a human being!

Perhaps the most comforting thing is that amongst all the gods and monsters and cursing and fighting, eating habits often characterize the work’s characters. Odysseus is always looking for sitophagoi, bread eaters, i.e. civilized people who make their own food, rather than man-eating monsters. I can identify with a hero looking for nice people to share a nice meal with.

By Homer, Emily Wilson (translator),

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Odyssey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage, family and identity; and about travellers, hospitality and the changing meanings of home in a strange world.

This vivid new translation-the first by a woman-matches the number of lines in the Greek original, striding at Homer's sprightly pace. Emily Wilson employs elemental, resonant language and an iambic pentameter to produce a translation with an enchanting "rhythm and rumble" that avoids proclaiming its own grandeur. An engrossing tale told in a compelling new…


Book cover of Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures

James N. McKean Author Of Quattrocento

From my list on to drop the hook and read at anchor.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having sailed the East Coast for over sixty years, from Ocracoke to Gaspe, I know that there’s nothing better than a few days of bad weather - if you`re safely at anchor in a well-protected cove. The wind in the rigging, rain drumming on the deck, the stove fired up, a mug of tea (with or without a tot of rum): add a good book, and that is pure happiness. After a hard day's sail - or just drifting along, becalmed - a good book is a sailor`s best friend.

James' book list on to drop the hook and read at anchor

James N. McKean Why did James love this book?

Everyone loves whales, right? But almost no one knows anything about them (I didn't). As a paleobiologist, Pyenson gives us a compelling view of their world, dating back over ten million years. Using vivid detail and rich narrative prose he shows us just how essential they are to marine ecology, and how our fate is inextricably linked to theirs. I've rarely read a book that so transformed my view of the world. 

By Nick Pyenson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A palaeontological howdunnit...[Spying on Whales] captures the excitement of...seeking answers to deep questions in cetacean science." -Nature

Called "the best of science writing" (Edward O. Wilson) and named a best book by Popular Science, a dive into the secret lives of whales, from their four-legged past to their perilous present.

Whales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-sized creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and travel entire ocean basins. Whales fill us with terror,…


Book cover of Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War

James N. McKean Author Of Quattrocento

From my list on to drop the hook and read at anchor.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having sailed the East Coast for over sixty years, from Ocracoke to Gaspe, I know that there’s nothing better than a few days of bad weather - if you`re safely at anchor in a well-protected cove. The wind in the rigging, rain drumming on the deck, the stove fired up, a mug of tea (with or without a tot of rum): add a good book, and that is pure happiness. After a hard day's sail - or just drifting along, becalmed - a good book is a sailor`s best friend.

James' book list on to drop the hook and read at anchor

James N. McKean Why did James love this book?

In these two volumes, Massie shows how the naval arms race Kaiser Wilhelm undertook with his grandmother Queen Victoria led inexorably to the Great War and a century of conflict. The rise of a young power, contesting control of the seas with the established global empire: sound familiar? The stakes could not have been higher - as Churchill said of Admiral Jellicoe, commander of the British fleet: "He is the only man who could lose this war in a single afternoon." Jellicoe prevailed when that fateful afternoon came at Jutland, but Massie shows us the long drift to war that started decades before on a different afternoon: a yacht race at Cowes.

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the biographer's rare genius for expressing the essence of extraordinary lives, Massie brings to life a crowd of glittering figures: the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz; the young, ambitious Winston Churchill; the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow; Britain's greatest twentieth-century Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey; and Jacky Fisher, the eccentric admiral who revolutionized the British Navy and brought forth for the first true battleship, H.M.S. Dreadnought. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstanding, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tragedy in this powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, Dreadnought…


Book cover of The Art of Eating

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

Whenever I feel a stab of nostalgia for my American childhood, I turn to M.F.K. Fisher, one of the most delightful food writers ever. The Art of Eating is a one-volume edition of six of her books, all written before I graduated from high school: it gives a funny and informative account of American (and other) eating habits before the great foodie revolution of the ‘80’s altered everything. It offers mostly food for the mind but the palate is also served by recipes I’d forgotten all about, often given both in their comfort food guise and in fancy dress.

By M.F.K. Fisher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ruth Reichl - 'Mary Frances [Fisher] has the extraordinary ability to make the ordinary seem rich and wonderful. Her dignity comes from her absolute insistence on appreciating life as it comes to her'. Julia Child - 'How wonderful to have here in my hands the essence of M.F.K. Fisher, whose wit and fulsome opinions on food and those who produce it, comment upon it, and consume it are as apt today as they were several decades ago, when she composed them. Why did she choose food and hunger she was asked, and she replied, 'When I write about hunger, I…


Book cover of Stories from the Kitchen

Andrea Israel Author Of The Recipe Club

From my list on sumptuous fiction about food, family and friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved books that weave food into the narrative. From essays to novels, I'm interested in the way food informs relationships and memories in stories. When Nancy Garfinkel and I created The Recipe Club, we shared a lot of our own food-related memories and passions. After the novel was published, we formed Recipe Clubs with devoted readers across the country. We traveled all over, hearing real-life stories related to food and friendship, love, and family. Recipes almost always carry stories with them, and the telling of these stories becomes a conduit for expressing our most authentic selves. I think this is why our book has had such great appeal.

Andrea's book list on sumptuous fiction about food, family and friendship

Andrea Israel Why did Andrea love this book?

Stories from the Kitchen is a celebration of food in fiction, an anthology of short stories combined with tidbits from novels. The authors are well known, ranging from Charles Dickens’ “Love and Oysters,” about oysters upending the life of a man and his dependable routines, to Isaak Dineson’s “Babette’s Feast,” in which a lavish dinner served by a French cook transforms the hearts and souls of the most austere members of an isolated Danish community. Another story of particular interest: M.F.K. Fisher’s heartbreaking “A Kitchen Allegory.” As in Fisher’s gastronomical non-fiction writing, in which food is her greatest metaphor, this slice of fiction uses food as a source of empathy for a woman who has to reckon with no longer being needed. Reading this entire collection underscores how my own book—though unprecedented in its number of recipes tucked within a novel— stands on a long tradition of food as…

By Diana Secker Tesdell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stories from the Kitchen is a one-of-a-kind anthology of classic tales showcasing the culinary arts from across the centuries and around the world.

Here is a mouthwatering smorgasbord of stories with food in the starring role, by a range of masters of fiction—from Dickens and Chekhov to Isaac Bashevis Singer, from Shirley Jackson to Jim Crace and Amy Tan. These richly varied selections offer tastes as decadent as caviar and as humble as cherry pie. They dazzle with the sumptuous extravagance of Isak Dinesen’s “Babette’s Feast” and console with a prisoner’s tender final meal in Günter Grass’s The Flounder. Choice…


Book cover of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

Anne Biklé Author Of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

From my list on microbiomes, gut health, food, and farming.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been enamored with the natural world and how it works. This trait, among others, led me into the fields of biology, natural history, and environmental planning. Even as I witness our species chiseling away at the planet, I find hope and solace. Working alongside the tenacity and resiliency of plants, animals, and soil microbes, I've helped landscapes as large as a river basin and as small as a garden come to life and flourish. Give nature half a chance and she can do wonders.  

Anne's book list on microbiomes, gut health, food, and farming

Anne Biklé Why did Anne love this book?

I would be remiss if I didn't have a "food" book from my list. While I have read and liked many such books, Adler's is the top gem. 

As I read her book, I pictured us in my kitchen conversing about how we had modified a recipe to save time, money, or both. We compared notes on the lost art of thrift in the kitchen; how to turn bread heels, beans, and bones into tasty components of a meal. 

Adler shows us that we can be cooks on our terms, in our own kitchens, delightfully free of pretense and convention. May this book free your mind and inspire you to get creative in the kitchen to discover what's possible!

By Tamar Adler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The most beautifully written description of what cooking is all about, and what it actually is, with recipes' Nigella Lawson

Through the insightful essays in An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler issues a rallying cry to home cooks.

In chapters about boiling water, cooking eggs and beans, and summoning respectable meals from empty cupboards, Tamar weaves philosophy and instruction into approachable lessons on instinctive cooking. Tamar shows how to make the most of everything you buy, demonstrating what the world's great chefs know: that great meals rely on the bones and peels and ends of meals before them.

She explains how…


Book cover of The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs

Peggy Paul Casella Author Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Cookbook

From my list on making pizza from scratch.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a cookbook author, editor, local food enthusiast, and the creator of the blog Thursday Night Pizza, where I share weekly recipes and de-snobbify the process of from-scratch pizza for home cooks of all skill levels. When I’m not in the kitchen or behind my computer, I enjoy gardening, working on house projects, tending to my Little Free Library, and roaming my city of Philadelphia with my husband and son.

Peggy's book list on making pizza from scratch

Peggy Paul Casella Why did Peggy love this book?

Once you master a good pizza dough recipe, the next step is experimenting with different combinations of toppings. Whenever I need some pairing inspiration for seasonal produce or meats or a special type of cheese, this is the first book I reach for. 

By Karen Page, Andrew Dornenburg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Great cooking goes beyond following a recipe--it's knowing how to season ingredients to coax the greatest possible flavor from them. Drawing on dozens of leading chefs' combined experience in top restaurants across the country, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg present the definitive guide to creating "deliciousness" in any dish.

Thousands of ingredient entries, organized alphabetically and cross-referenced, provide a treasure trove of spectacular flavor combinations. Readers will learn to work more intuitively and effectively with ingredients; experiment with temperature and texture; excite the nose and palate with herbs, spices, and other seasonings; and balance the sensual, emotional, and spiritual elements…


Book cover of The Physiology of Taste: Or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy with Recipes

Gregory Emilio Author Of Kitchen Apocrypha: Poems

From my list on books for gourmands with literary appetites.

Why am I passionate about this?

My twin passions in life have always been food and writing. While I chose poetry and creative writing as my primary fields of expertise, my ten-plus years of working in restaurants are just as important to who I am. I’m hungry for food writing that takes a more literary or creative approach. Cooking is a highly creative and meaningful act, and I love to see writing that aspires to do for the reader what the dedicated cook does for the eater: to nourish not only the body but the more metaphysical elements of our being, which is to say, our hearts, and maybe even our souls.  

Gregory's book list on books for gourmands with literary appetites

Gregory Emilio Why did Gregory love this book?

If The Gastronomical Me was a kind of first course or appetizer into the world of food writing (and French cuisine in particular), this book is the elaborate, ornately baroque, show-stopping main.

Written by an 18th-century French judge and gourmand, the book is a fascinating compendium of meditations on a dizzying array of topics related to eating and drinking, or what Savarin calls “the pleasures of the table.”

Another reason that I love this book so much is that it’s translated by none other than M.F.K. Fisher, who provides “glosses” and witty commentaries on Savarin’s text. It’s like watching two of the most intelligent and literary gourmands to ever live have a dinner conversation hundreds of years apart. 

By Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, M.F.K. Fisher (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A delightful and hilarious classic about the joys of the table, The Physiology of Taste is the most famous book about food ever written. First published in France in 1825 and continuously in print ever since, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s masterpiece is a historical, philosophical, and epicurean collection of recipes, reflections, and anecdotes on everything and anything gastronomical. Brillat-Savarin—who famously stated “Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are”—shrewdly expounds upon culinary matters that still resonate today, from the rise of the destination restaurant to matters of diet and weight, and in M. F. K. Fisher,…


Book cover of Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Good

Anthony Gladman Author Of Gin A Tasting Course: A Flavor-focused Approach to the World of Gin

From my list on cocktail-loving flavour fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think I was always meant to write about drinks for a living, it just took me a while to realise. Ever since my Dad gave me a copy of Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails as a kid (to look at the cartoonish illustrations) I've been fascinated by these particularly adult delights. I've also followed flavour around all my life like a Loony Tunes figure in the thrall of a beckoning wisp of fragrant steam. Studying this stuff for various drinks industry qualifications has only made that interest grow stronger, and so I take it out on you, dear reader, in the nicest way, of course.

Anthony's book list on cocktail-loving flavour fans

Anthony Gladman Why did Anthony love this book?

No book can ever tell you, definitively, what tastes good. This one can tell you why certain things taste good to you, which is a much more interesting subject to dive into.

I found it fascinating to learn just how much all the other senses are involved when it comes to eating and drinking, it really is the most sensory-stimulating activity in our lives. Ok, perhaps the second most.

This book also goes into a subject that's close to my heart: learning to become a better taster. So many people seem to think your skill at this is fixed at birth. That's not true! If you're anything like me, then you'll love how this book opens up a whole dimension of aroma and flavour and makes your world all the richer for it.

By Barb Stuckey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What if you could get more sensory input, and hence more enjoyment, from the foods you're already eating? You can with a little bit of understanding and practice. Taste What You're Missingexplains the science behind what's happening in your mouth, nose, and mind when you eat.

Stuckey tells fascinating stories about people who've experienced changes or loss of one of their senses, to illuminate aspects of taste many readers never would have noticed or appreciated. People who have damaged their tongues and lost a certain amount of sensitivity; people with anosmia--no sense of smell--like Ben of Ben & Jerry's Ice…


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