100 books like England on Fire

By Stephen Ellcock, Mat Osman,

Here are 100 books that England on Fire fans have personally recommended if you like England on Fire. 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 Notes from Deep Time: A Journey Through Our Past and Future Worlds

Charlotte Mullins Author Of A Little History of Art

From my list on the British landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Yorkshire and spent many happy hours as a teenager wandering about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, looking at giant Henry Moores in the rolling landscape. I subsequently trained as an art historian and have spent the last thirty years writing about art, from the YBAs to our prehistoric roots. A Little History of Art was borne out of this journey. Increasingly I have been drawn to researching what art can tell us about British history. My bookshelves groan with monographs but these five volumes have helped me think more deeply about Britain’s landscapes and its past. I hope they will do the same for you.

Charlotte's book list on the British landscape

Charlotte Mullins Why did Charlotte love this book?

This book expanded how I thought about time and about the landscape we take for granted.

It opened up the prehistoric world from a contemporary perspective, showing how a sense of deep geological time can help us understand our own place in the world better today.

Gordon explains why categories of things can be useful in deepening our understanding of a place: as she says, ‘a named landscape thickens.’

I also found this book so useful in working out how to cram 100,000 years of history into one volume for my book!

By Helen Gordon,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Notes from Deep Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Astounding ... To call this a "history" does not do justice to Helen Gordon's ambition'
Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph

'Awe-inspiring ... She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity'
Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward, Mail on Sunday

The story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it's there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative.

Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from…


Book cover of Radical Landscapes

Charlotte Mullins Author Of A Little History of Art

From my list on the British landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Yorkshire and spent many happy hours as a teenager wandering about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, looking at giant Henry Moores in the rolling landscape. I subsequently trained as an art historian and have spent the last thirty years writing about art, from the YBAs to our prehistoric roots. A Little History of Art was borne out of this journey. Increasingly I have been drawn to researching what art can tell us about British history. My bookshelves groan with monographs but these five volumes have helped me think more deeply about Britain’s landscapes and its past. I hope they will do the same for you.

Charlotte's book list on the British landscape

Charlotte Mullins Why did Charlotte love this book?

What do we mean by landscape? What do we mean by Britain?

Radical Landscapes has been a springboard for me for the book I am currently researching for Yale on British Art.

It is the exhibition catalogue for a wide-ranging exhibition that was held at Tate Liverpool in 2022 and offers twelve essays on the latest thinking on queer theory, folk art, geopolitics, community spaces, and more.

Internal landscapes, botanical specimens, protests, maps – this book helped me expand my thinking about landscape beyond the picturesque and the sublime.

By Darren Pih (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Throughout the twentieth-century artists have responded to the landscape in emotional, physical and political ways: exploring themes of belonging to the land by interrogating the relationship between landscape history and identity, the enclosure or militarisation of land, to artists creating works that harness or dramatise natural earth processes. As the custodian of the national collection of British art, Tate's climate emergency declaration points to a wider concern and care for the environment that underpins the themes in Radical Landscapes.
Structured on three broad thematic sections; 'Trespass', 'Landscape and Identity', and 'Climate Breakdown', there will be around 100 works in total…


Book cover of Digging Up Britain: A New History in Ten Extraordinary Discoveries

Charlotte Mullins Author Of A Little History of Art

From my list on the British landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Yorkshire and spent many happy hours as a teenager wandering about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, looking at giant Henry Moores in the rolling landscape. I subsequently trained as an art historian and have spent the last thirty years writing about art, from the YBAs to our prehistoric roots. A Little History of Art was borne out of this journey. Increasingly I have been drawn to researching what art can tell us about British history. My bookshelves groan with monographs but these five volumes have helped me think more deeply about Britain’s landscapes and its past. I hope they will do the same for you.

Charlotte's book list on the British landscape

Charlotte Mullins Why did Charlotte love this book?

I first read this book when I was trying to pull together all the disparate locations, time periods, and art movements for my book.

This task was a little overwhelming and Digging Up Britain taught me how to make choices about what to include and what to leave out, how to weave it all into a narrative that makes sense, and how to bring prehistory to life.

Unusually, this book travels back in time as we travel through it. It is like an archaeological dig – we start with the Vikings and then the Staffordshire Hoard but end up with the Star Carr deer hunters and a million years of history.

It is a book you can dip into or read cover to cover (as I did) and it has some good illustrations and maps throughout. 

By Mike Pitts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Britain has long been fascinated with its own history and identity, as an island nation besieged by invaders from beyond the seas: the Romans, Vikings and Normans. The long saga of prehistory is often forgotten - but our understanding of our past is changing.

Mike Pitts presents ten astounding archaeological discoveries that shed new light on those who came before us, and radically altered the way we think about our history. His compelling, sometimes teasing, archaeological odyssey illustrates the diversity, complexity and sheer strangeness of the lives that represent Britain's past.

With 79 illustrations, 24 in colour


Book cover of Imagining England's Past: Inspiration, Enchantment, Obsession

Charlotte Mullins Author Of A Little History of Art

From my list on the British landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Yorkshire and spent many happy hours as a teenager wandering about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, looking at giant Henry Moores in the rolling landscape. I subsequently trained as an art historian and have spent the last thirty years writing about art, from the YBAs to our prehistoric roots. A Little History of Art was borne out of this journey. Increasingly I have been drawn to researching what art can tell us about British history. My bookshelves groan with monographs but these five volumes have helped me think more deeply about Britain’s landscapes and its past. I hope they will do the same for you.

Charlotte's book list on the British landscape

Charlotte Mullins Why did Charlotte love this book?

I read an early proof of this book (it is published on 13 April 2023) and was hooked from the first page.

Owens opens with footfall on medieval castle stairs and the tread of time – only the stairs she walks on are seventeenth-century copies and are part of the ongoing mythologising of England’s past.

She covers King Arthur and the Crusades, Beowulf and Tennyson, Shell tourist guides, and the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. Her excellent earlier book Spirit of Place (Thames & Hudson) is focused more squarely on the British landscape but this new book connects to the myth of England, how it has been and still is constructed in all our minds.

Eye-opening and beautifully written.

By Susan Owens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Imagining England's Past takes a long look at the country's invented histories, from the glamorous to the disturbing, from the eighth century to the present day.

England has long built its sense of self on visions of its past. What does it mean for medieval writers to summon King Arthur from the post-Roman fog; for William Morris to resurrect the skills of the medieval workshop and Julia Margaret Cameron to portray the Arthurian court with her Victorian camera; or for Yinka Shonibare in the final years of the twentieth century to visualize a Black Victorian dandy?

By exploring the imaginations…


Book cover of Icon: A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art

Patrick J. Jones Author Of The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Art of Patrick J. Jones

From my list on art of the imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy and science fiction artist, or imaginative realist, I have always gravitated toward works of imagination and own many books on artists in this field, and love them all. Having met many of my artistic heroes this was a tough call so I picked the five that books that resonated with me during my early life and exploration of this most fantastic form of expression. I hope they fill you with the same wonder as they did with me.

Patrick's book list on art of the imagination

Patrick J. Jones Why did Patrick love this book?

This was the first book compiled by Cathy and Arnie Fenner on the art of grandmaster fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. My first thought was to choose the Ballantine collection of his work because of its nostalgic quality (I was fifteen when I bought it), but this much later Underwood collection went way beyond a simple collection of art due to the care and love put into the production by the Fenner’s, who knew frank personally and admired his art. It's a big art book and the images fill the pages. If I have one gripe about art books in general it’s that the images are nearly always too small, not so here, this is a beautiful showcase that I have treasured and re-read hundreds of times.

By Frank Frazetta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume follows the work of fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta. Born in Brooklyn in 1928, he absorbed the colourful pulp adventures of Tarzan and Flash Gordon, and in the 50s he excited the next generation of fantasy lovers with his illustrations of Vampirella and Conan the Barbarian.


Book cover of Art Is Life: Icons and Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Vigilantes, and Flashes of Hope in the Night

Miriam Schulman Author Of Artpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity

From my list on artists monetizing their creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

With over 20 years of experience as a professional artist and a successful track record of earning six figures a year from my art, I know firsthand what it takes to build a thriving artistic career. As the host of the Inspiration Place podcast, and founder of the Artist Incubator program, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to helping artists everywhere achieve their full potential and reach their goals. When you overcome the common challenges and mindset blocks that hold so many artists back and learn the practical tools and strategies you need for selling your art, you too find the same success.

Miriam's book list on artists monetizing their creativity

Miriam Schulman Why did Miriam love this book?

This book is a great choice for anyone looking to dive deeper into the creative process and find inspiration for their own artistic journey. The book, written by the well-known art critic and historian Jerry Saltz, offers practical advice and thought-provoking insights into the nature of art and the role of the artist in society. One of the key themes in the book is the idea that every piece of art you create has the potential to make an impact, no matter how big or small, and that it is your responsibility as an artist to keep creating, even if your work may not always be perfect. Overall, this book is a must-read for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of the creative process and find the motivation to keep pursuing their passions.

By Jerry Saltz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of How to Be an Artist: a deliciously readable survey of the art world in turbulent times

Jerry Saltz is one of our most-watched writers about art and artists, and a passionate champion of the importance of art in our shared cultural life. Since the 1990s he has been an indispensable cultural voice: witty and provocative, he has attracted contemporary readers to fine art as few critics have. An early champion of forgotten and overlooked women artists, he has also celebrated the pioneering work of African American, LGBTQ+, and other long-marginalized creators.…


Book cover of The Green Sketching Handbook: Relax, Unwind and Reconnect with Nature

Rachael Taylor Author Of Power Up Your Creativity: Ignite Your Creative Spark - Develop a Productive Practice - Set Goals and Achieve Your Dreams

From my list on increase your creative productivity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning art director, creative mentor, and print and pattern designer with nearly two decades of experience working successfully in the creative industries. As a young person, I loved drama, dance, and art, and was constantly bursting with creative passion. As I grew older, I faced doubt from the people around me about pursuing a creative career. I stubbornly pursued it anyway and ignored the naysayers who told me to “stop dreaming” or to “get a real job.” I am now described as a “powerhouse” in the design world and someone who fearlessly strives forward in her creative career and helps thousands around the world to believe in their own creative power.

Rachael's book list on increase your creative productivity

Rachael Taylor Why did Rachael love this book?

I truly adore this book. It was very easy to read and kept my attention (as I usually get distracted so easily). I felt a sense of calm on every page, and Ali's words really resonated with me.

My favourite section was chapter 12, which focused on children as I look forward to some green sketching time with my young son every school holiday.

The book is a great size to carry around and read on the go, and it's beautifully illustrated. It brought me a lot of comfort and encouraged me to slow down in life with a gentle reminder to soak up all the beauty that's around us so we can turn that into a productive practice. A truly special book.

By Ali Foxon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A warm and inspiring invitation to put down our phones, pick up a pencil and start really looking at the beauty all around us.' - Kathy Clugston, presenter of Gardeners' Question Time

Learn to let go of your worries and lose yourself in nature with this practical guide to sketching for pleasure, not perfection.

Most of us know that creativity and time outdoors are good for our wellbeing, yet so many of us struggle to find the time or motivation to step away from our screens. But there's a solution! Combining quick and easy exercises with the latest research on…


Book cover of The Lost Spells

Day Schildkret Author Of Hello, Goodbye: 75 Rituals for Times of Loss, Celebration, and Change

From my list on nature, art, and ritual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to discover the healing power of art, nature, and ritual while I was grieving the loss of my father a decade ago. I would go to the park and make impermanent and symmetrical art from found twigs, flowers, pine cones, berries, and leaves as a way to ground, heal my broken heart, and make sense of a chaotic time. Since then, I‘ve made over a thousand nature altars, written a book about it (Morning Altars), and have taught tens of thousands of people around the world to make meaning in their lives through a creative collaboration with the natural world. It still amazes me that something so simple and impermanent can bring such wonder and resilience.

Day's book list on nature, art, and ritual

Day Schildkret Why did Day love this book?

A wise man once said to me, “if you can say it, you can see it." This magical book of art, poetry, and nature is a response to the removal of nature words such as “acorn,” “wren,” and “dandelion,” from a children’s dictionary. His gorgeous writing encourages us to wonder at the forgotten and to behold the ordinary by uttering nature words as a conjuring thing. During a time of environmental loss, grief, and forgetting, McFarlane lets us fall in love again with the greater-than-human world through language and therefore, to renew our capacity to marvel at the living landscape and our own inner landscape. 

By Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lost Spells as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Beautiful books make unforgettable gifts. This pocket-sized treasure is the perfect gift for fans of nature, language and rich artwork, adult and child alike!

Kindred in spirit to The Lost Words but fresh in its form, The Lost Spells introduces a beautiful new set of natural spell-poems and artwork by beloved creative duo Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

Each "spell" conjures an animal, bird, tree or flower -- from Barn Owl to Red Fox, Grey Seal to Silver Birch, Jay to Jackdaw -- with which we share our lives and landscapes. Moving, joyful and funny, The Lost Spells above all…


Book cover of Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim

Alvin Schnupp Author Of Goods & Effects

From my list on women artists and activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by women who are artists and activists, such as Ivy Bottini, Käthe Kollwitz and Peggy Guggenheim. (All subjects of plays I wrote). They are convicted, unique, champions of justice, diversity and inclusion.

Alvin's book list on women artists and activists

Alvin Schnupp Why did Alvin love this book?

An insightful examination of art collector Peggy Guggenheim, a fascinating character, Ms. Guggenheim was friends with a vast assortment of American and European writers and artists. The reader gets to see the contradictory sides of this brilliant and unconventional woman. As a result of reading this book, I wrote a play about her entitled The Collection.

By Anton Gill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Mrs. Guggenheim, how many husbands have you had?" she was once asked. "D'you mean my own, or other people's?"

Peggy Guggenheim's tempestuous life (1898-1979) spanned the most exciting and volatile years of the twentieth century, and she lived it to the full. How she became one of the century's foremost collectors of modern art-and one of its most formidable lovers-is the subject of this lively and authoritative biography.

Her father, Benjamin Guggenheim, went down with the Titanic en route home from installing the elevator machinery in the Eiffel Tower, and it was in Paris in the 1930s that the young…


Book cover of The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression

David Chelsea Author Of Perspective! for Comic Book Artists

From my list on making you a better artist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I have been a professional artist for over forty years, I have never yet gotten to the point where I imagine I have it all figured out. There are always new techniques to learn, and new mediums to explore. The books on this list are ones I have found helpful in nudging me in new and productive directions. 

David's book list on making you a better artist

David Chelsea Why did David love this book?

Gary Faigin is the guy I took my first and only perspective class from, back when he was teaching at the New York Academy of Arts. Eventually we became friends, and fortunately for me he never wrote a book on perspective. Instead, Gary channeled his considerable knowledge of anatomy and drawing into the indispensable book on facial expressions. In profusely illustrated chapters, Gary breaks down the daunting complexity of facial expressions into six basics: joy, anger, sadness, disgust, fear, and surprise. Like the primary colors, this basic palette yields the full spectrum of extreme to subtle, in-between, and mixed expressions. 

By Gary Faigin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Artists will love this book, the definitive guide to capturing facial expressions. In a carefully organised, easy-to-use format, author Gary Faigin shows readers the expressions created by individual facial muscles, then draws them together in a section devoted to the six basic human emotions: sadness, anger, joy, fear, disgust and surprise. Each emotion is shown in steadily increasing intensity and Faigin's detailed renderings are supplemented by clear explanatory text, additional sketches and finished work. An appendix includes yawning, wincing and other physical reactions. Want to create portraits that capture the real person? Want to draw convincing illustrations? Want to show…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in art, Europe, and artists?

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