100 books like Grand Hotel Abyss

By Stuart Jeffries,

Here are 100 books that Grand Hotel Abyss fans have personally recommended if you like Grand Hotel Abyss. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Little History of Philosophy

Sue Prideaux Author Of I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche

From the list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by humanity’s search for meaning. That is what I am exploring as I read philosophy and as I write my biographies of extraordinary individuals. Sue Prideaux has written award-winning books on Edvard Munch and his painting The Scream, the playwright August Strindberg, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. She acted as consultant to Sotheby’s when they sold The Scream for a record-breaking $120 million.

Sue's book list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning

Why did Sue love this book?

Nietzsche said; “Today’s philosophers enjoy the divine principle of incomprehensibility.” This clearly written book takes the opposite tack. If you’re terrified of philosophy, this is the book for you. A great book to get the kids interested in the subject.

By Nigel Warburton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little History of Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers of E. H. Gombrich's A Little History of the World, an equally irresistible volume that brings history's greatest philosophers to life

"A primer in human existence: philosophy has rarely seemed so lucid, so important, so worth doing and so easy to enter into. . . . A wonderful introduction for anyone who's ever felt curious about almost anything."-Sarah Bakewell, author of How To Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who…


How to Live

By Sarah Bakewell,

Book cover of How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

Sue Prideaux Author Of I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche

From the list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by humanity’s search for meaning. That is what I am exploring as I read philosophy and as I write my biographies of extraordinary individuals. Sue Prideaux has written award-winning books on Edvard Munch and his painting The Scream, the playwright August Strindberg, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. She acted as consultant to Sotheby’s when they sold The Scream for a record-breaking $120 million.

Sue's book list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning

Why did Sue love this book?

Nietzsche said; “Only those with very large lungs have the right to write long sentences.” Montaigne was of the same opinion. He pre-dated Nietzsche in couching his philosophy simply and clearly in short, sharp aphorisms. Like Nietzsche’s aphorisms, they are often very funny.

By Sarah Bakewell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How to get on well with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love? How to live?

This question obsessed Renaissance nobleman Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-92), who wrote free-roaming explorations of his thought and experience, unlike anything written before. Into these essays he put whatever was in his head: his tastes in wine and food, his childhood memories, the way his dog's ears twitched when it was dreaming, events in the appalling civil wars raging around him. The Essays was an instant bestseller, and over four hundred years later, readers still come to…


In the Land of the Cyclops

By Karl Ove Knausgaard,

Book cover of In the Land of the Cyclops

Sue Prideaux Author Of I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche

From the list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by humanity’s search for meaning. That is what I am exploring as I read philosophy and as I write my biographies of extraordinary individuals. Sue Prideaux has written award-winning books on Edvard Munch and his painting The Scream, the playwright August Strindberg, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. She acted as consultant to Sotheby’s when they sold The Scream for a record-breaking $120 million.

Sue's book list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning

Why did Sue love this book?

Nietzsche said; “Art is the supreme task, the truly metaphysical activity in this life.” The relationship between life and art has always been a tough issue. Even more so today, in our unsettling age of post-truth and celebrity culture. Knausgaard writes not to provide answers, but to teach us to ask the proper questions of the time we live in.

By Karl Ove Knausgaard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliantly wide-ranging essay collection from the author of My Struggle, spanning literature, philosophy, art and how our daily and creative lives intertwine.

In the Land of the Cyclops is Karl Ove Knausgaard's first collection of essays to be published in English, and these brilliant and wide-ranging pieces meditate on themes familiar from his groundbreaking fiction.

Here, Knausgaard discusses Madame Bovary, the Northern Lights, Ingmar Bergman, and the work of an array of writers and visual artists, including Knut Hamsun, Michel Houellebecq, Anselm Kiefer and Cindy Sherman.

These essays beautifully capture Knausgaard's ability to mediate between the deeply personal and…


Dominion

By Tom Holland,

Book cover of Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

Sue Prideaux Author Of I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche

From the list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by humanity’s search for meaning. That is what I am exploring as I read philosophy and as I write my biographies of extraordinary individuals. Sue Prideaux has written award-winning books on Edvard Munch and his painting The Scream, the playwright August Strindberg, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. She acted as consultant to Sotheby’s when they sold The Scream for a record-breaking $120 million.

Sue's book list on philosophy and humanity’s search for meaning

Why did Sue love this book?

Nietzsche said “God is dead, but in thousands of years there still may be caves where his shadow will be shown.” Tom Holland traces the effect of the long shadow on our lives.

By Tom Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A "marvelous" (Economist) account of how the Christian Revolution forged the Western imagination. Crucifixion, the Romans believed, was the worst fate imaginable, a punishment reserved for slaves. How astonishing it was, then, that people should have come to believe that one particular victim of crucifixion-an obscure provincial by the name of Jesus-was to be worshipped as a god. Dominion explores the implications of this shocking conviction as they have reverberated throughout history. Today, the West remains utterly saturated by Christian assumptions. As Tom Holland demonstrates, our morals and ethics are not universal but are instead the fruits of a very…


Secret Reports on Nazi Germany

By Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer

Book cover of Secret Reports on Nazi Germany: The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort

Zachary Shore Author Of A Sense of the Enemy: The High Stakes History of Reading Your Rival's Mind

From the list on knowing your enemy.

Who am I?

I am a historian of international conflict who focuses on understanding the enemy. For most of my career, I have studied why we so often misread others, and how those misperceptions lead to war. The current crisis in Ukraine is just one more example of how the parties involved misunderstood each other. I believe that if we could improve this one ability, we would substantially lessen the likelihood, frequency, and severity of war.

Zachary's book list on knowing your enemy

Why did Zachary love this book?

This is certainly the nerdiest of my selections. It is simply a collection of analytical assessments from the sharpest minds to study Nazi Germany during WWII. The authors of these reports, most of them Jewish intellectual academics who fled the Third Reich, joined America’s embryonic intelligence community before the CIA existed. The documents show how their deep knowledge of German social forces enabled them to counter the more superficial analysis of military and political officials about Germany’s likely course. As I wrote in my own book, if America had only had comparable experts on Afghanistan, the war there might not have ended as it did.

By Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Secret Reports on Nazi Germany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the Second World War, three prominent members of the Frankfurt School--Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, and Otto Kirchheimer--worked as intelligence analysts for the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA. This book brings together their most important intelligence reports on Nazi Germany, most of them published here for the first time. These reports provide a fresh perspective on Hitler's regime and the Second World War, and a fascinating window on Frankfurt School critical theory. They develop a detailed analysis of Nazism as a social and economic system and the role of anti-Semitism in Nazism, as well as…


Book cover of Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason

Vasilis Grollios Author Of Negativity and Democracy: Marxism and the Critical Theory Tradition

From the list on critical theory, fetishism, and irrationality.

Who am I?

Ι have a passion for critical theory since I was intrigued by the idea, which originates in Marx’s Capital, that what limits our freedom and democracy is not the apparent personified power hold by the state and politicians. On the contrary, real power lies in capital, that's in abstract labour, which is the labour that must succumb to the standards of time is money, that runs through each one of us. Therefore, in my postdoctoral research in the last 13 years, I have attempted to follow this idea in the history of political philosophy. During my research, I realized that the mainstream reading of Marxism and critical theory is far from what it should be. 

Vasilis' book list on critical theory, fetishism, and irrationality

Why did Vasilis love this book?

For this book, the critique of political economy is a thoroughly subversive business. It rejects the appearance of economic reality as a natural thing, argues that the economy has no independent existence. Subversion focuses on human conditions. Its critical subject is society unaware of itself. This book develops Marx's critique of political economy as a negative theory of society. It does not conform to the patterns of the world and demands that society rids itself of all the muck of ages and founds itself anew.

By Werner Bonefeld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Subversive thought is none other than the cunning of reason when confronted with a social reality in which the poor and miserable are required to sustain the illusion of fictitious wealth. Yet, this subsidy is absolutely necessary in existing society, to prevent its implosion. The critique of political economy is a thoroughly subversive business. It rejects the appearance of economic reality as a natural thing, argues that economy has not independent existence, expounds economy as political economy, and rejects as conformist rebellion those anti-capitalist perspectives that derive their rationality from the existing conceptuality of society. Subversion focuses on human conditions.…


The Critique of Judgement

By Immanuel Kant, James Creed Meredith (translator), Nicholas Walker (editor)

Book cover of The Critique of Judgement

Carolyn L. Kane Author Of Electrographic Architecture: New York Color, Las Vegas Light, and America's White Imaginary

From the list on how and why things are chosen as beautiful.

Who am I?

Understanding the world is important for everyone. For me, it takes the form of analyzing colorful images and artifacts in the built environment. In the broad traditions of the global northwest, color is regarded as deceptive and unreliable. For centuries now, and throughout disparate media and technical systems, color has had to maintain this secondary, subordinate status as “other,” linked to falsity, manipulation, and deceit or, to quote David Batchelor, “some ‘foreign’ body". In my work, I argue that we have all inherited this tradition in the global northwest, fetishizing color as both excessive and yet indispensable in its capacity to retroactively confirm the sanctity of what it is not.

Carolyn's book list on how and why things are chosen as beautiful

Why did Carolyn love this book?

Also one of the most comprehensive philosophical accounts of aesthetic judgment and why taste is taste and not something else…Even though it was penned circa 1790, it still has many gems of insight for the present, especially when it comes to our biases and prejudices regarding color, charm, and sense perception.

For example, Kant writes of color: “The colours which give brilliancy to the sketch are part of the charm. They may no doubt, in their own way, enliven the object for sensation, but make it really worth looking at and beautiful they cannot.” (¶14; p. 56)

By Immanuel Kant, James Creed Meredith (translator), Nicholas Walker (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'beauty has purport and significance only for human beings, for beings at once animal and rational'

In the Critique of Judgement (1790) Kant offers a penetrating analysis of our experience of the beautiful and the sublime, discussing the objectivity of taste, aesthetic disinterestedness, the relation of art and nature, the role of imagination, genius and originality, the limits of representation and the connection between morality and the aesthetic. He also investigates the validity of our judgements concerning the apparent purposiveness of nature with respect to the highest
interests of reason and enlightenment.

The work profoundly influenced the artists and writers…


Dialectic of Enlightenment

By Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Edmund Jephcott (translator)

Book cover of Dialectic of Enlightenment

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam Author Of Is Artificial Intelligence Racist? The Ethics of AI and the Future of Humanity

From the list on future technologies and the ethics of AI.

Who am I?

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is Professor in Global Thought and Comparative Philosophies at SOAS University of London and Fellow of Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge. Among over a dozen honorary appointments all over the world, Adib-Moghaddam is the inaugural Director of the SOAS Centre for AI Futures.

Arshin's book list on future technologies and the ethics of AI

Why did Arshin love this book?

First published in 1947, this iconic book of the “Frankfurt School” could not be a study of AI and 21st-century technologies per see.

Instead it is a phantasmic explainer of how the mistakes of the past impinge on our humanity and the prospects for a better future. "What we had set out to do," Adorno and Horkheimer famously wrote in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism."

With spectacular erudition, the authors clearly show how the terror regime of the Nazis was rooted in the nefarious legacies of enlightenment Europe and its obsession with racial purity. As such, Adorno and Horkheimer presaged why it is that our polluted history feeds into racist AI technologies: Bad data, Adorno and Horkheimer would agree, produces bad outcomes. 

By Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Edmund Jephcott (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dialectic of Enlightenment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism."

Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle…


One-Dimensional Man

By Herbert Marcuse,

Book cover of One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From the list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Who am I?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Why did Todd love this book?

This is the one classic text on my list. Marcuse’s book was like a bible to protesting students in the 1960s, and its critique of the psychic levelling that occurs under capitalism remains just as germane today, if not more so. This is the most successful marriage of Freud and Marx that emerged from the famous Frankfurt School, which was a group of cultural Marxist invested in psychoanalysis. Marcuse grasps how capitalism employs technology to ensure its psychic dominance. 

By Herbert Marcuse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One-Dimensional Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.


Illuminations

By Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt (editor), Henry Zohn (translator)

Book cover of Illuminations

Barry Sandywell Author Of Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms

From the list on beginning the study of visual culture.

Who am I?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis upon questions of culture and critical research in the expanding field of visual culture. Recent projects include Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. The passion to understand the thought and visual culture of both the ancient and modern world continues to inform my work. 

Barry's book list on beginning the study of visual culture

Why did Barry love this book?

Like most of Benjamin’s essays and books, "The Work of Art" essay is a dialectical study of the material conditions of the possibility of the work of art in the context of the conditions of modern reproduction techniques. Benjamin delineates a visual phenomenology of the essential features of the traditional artwork (its singularity in time and place, its disengagement from mundane experience, its provocation of thought and reflection, and its local `auratic’ presence). This frames the background to the question of the fate of art in an era where the singular work of art can be replicated and endlessly reproduced through technological means.

The artwork achieves a massive expansion in terms of audience reception and interpretation, but it is also stripped of its `aura’ and transgressive 'presence’. This analysis allows Benjamin to explore the impact of modernity upon structures of experience as a dialectical `loop’ that circles back upon the…

By Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt (editor), Henry Zohn (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Essays and reflections from one of the twentieth century’s most original cultural critics, with an introduction by Hannah Arendt.
 
Walter Benjamin was an icon of criticism, renowned for his insight on art, literature, and philosophy. This volume includes his views on Kafka, with whom he felt a close personal affinity; his studies on Baudelaire and Proust; and his essays on Leskov and Brecht’s epic theater. Illuminations also includes his penetrating study “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” an enlightening discussion of translation as a literary mode; and his theses on the philosophy of history.
 
Hannah Arendt…


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