100 books like On Immunity

By Eula Biss,

Here are 100 books that On Immunity fans have personally recommended if you like On Immunity. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America

Catherine Zabinski Author Of Amber Waves: The Extraordinary Biography of Wheat, from Wild Grass to World Megacrop

From my list on to contemplate food systems.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a plant and soil ecologist, and have spent my working life researching and teaching within the university system. I am also a reader of poetry and literature, and particularly drawn to authors who write so well that you are pulled into a topic that you didn’t know was of interest. I wrote a biography of wheat because I really like plants, and I thought that writing about one of our crop plants could attract readers who like to eat. Along the way, I got fascinated by the layered complexities of our food system. Reading about it is another way to reflect on our relationship with the planet. 

Catherine's book list on to contemplate food systems

Catherine Zabinski Why did Catherine love this book?

Part of a functioning food system is supporting the farmers who grow our crops. In Lentil Underground, Liz Carlisle introduces us to a network of farmers in Montana who made the decision to grow organic lentils and the work it took to make that economically viable. Carlisle’s writing has you sitting at the kitchen table with innovative members of the agricultural community.

By Liz Carlisle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A protégé of Michael Pollan shares the story of a little known group of renegade farmers who defied corporate agribusiness by launching a unique sustainable farm-to-table food movement.

The story of the Lentil Underground begins on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Great Plains: the Oien family farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told small farmers like the Oiens to “get big or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told…


Book cover of The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food

Janet Hubbard Author Of Champagne

From my list on modern day France containing food and wine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went to Paris the first time when I was nineteen. I was sitting in a cheap restaurant when a man entered carrying a burlap sack filled with escargots, and put some on my plate (all very unsanitary) for me to taste. Delicious! I was in France in the 1970s when Robert Parker was discovering French wine. (We didn’t meet then, but did after my series was published many years later.)  Subsequent stays in Paris and other areas of France (Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy) afforded me a food and wine sensibility that over decades has permeated my lifestyle, my friendships—and my writing.

Janet's book list on modern day France containing food and wine

Janet Hubbard Why did Janet love this book?

Adam Gopnik’s book, The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food has it all: essays on the history of restaurants, followed by second on taste, then come the recipes (a stellar one on leg of lamb prepared with bacon and anchovies, saffron and cinnamon), and finally, in Chapter Ten, an essay on wine that is a far cry from the plethora of books on “how to taste.” It calls wine what it is, alcohol, and talks about why it makes us happy. I downloaded this book onto my Kindle a long time ago, and writing about it reminds me to purchase a hard copy of the book in order to place It on my shelf next to Gopnik’s book, Paris to the Moon, written way back in 1995, which is about the year he and his wife and infant son spent in Paris, with great stories…

By Adam Gopnik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing—“You still eat meat?” With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives?
 
With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic,…


Book cover of Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking

Catherine Zabinski Author Of Amber Waves: The Extraordinary Biography of Wheat, from Wild Grass to World Megacrop

From my list on to contemplate food systems.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a plant and soil ecologist, and have spent my working life researching and teaching within the university system. I am also a reader of poetry and literature, and particularly drawn to authors who write so well that you are pulled into a topic that you didn’t know was of interest. I wrote a biography of wheat because I really like plants, and I thought that writing about one of our crop plants could attract readers who like to eat. Along the way, I got fascinated by the layered complexities of our food system. Reading about it is another way to reflect on our relationship with the planet. 

Catherine's book list on to contemplate food systems

Catherine Zabinski Why did Catherine love this book?

Buford recounts his story of what originally was supposed to be a year in France, learning to cook, French style, through an apprenticeship in Lyon. While the whole story is engaging, maybe the most interesting part for me was the tale that runs throughout about Bob, the boulanger, and his quest to make bread from the flour with a specific terroir, because the soils and climate were essential to the quality of his baguettes. 

By Bill Buford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“You can almost taste the food in Bill Buford’s Dirt, an engrossing, beautifully written memoir about his life as a cook in France.” —The Wall Street Journal

What does it take to master French cooking? This is the question that drives Bill Buford to abandon his perfectly happy life in New York City and pack up and (with a wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow) move to Lyon, the so-called gastronomic capital of France. But what was meant to be six months in a new and very foreign city turns into a wild five-year digression from normal life, as…


Book cover of Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture

Catherine Zabinski Author Of Amber Waves: The Extraordinary Biography of Wheat, from Wild Grass to World Megacrop

From my list on to contemplate food systems.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a plant and soil ecologist, and have spent my working life researching and teaching within the university system. I am also a reader of poetry and literature, and particularly drawn to authors who write so well that you are pulled into a topic that you didn’t know was of interest. I wrote a biography of wheat because I really like plants, and I thought that writing about one of our crop plants could attract readers who like to eat. Along the way, I got fascinated by the layered complexities of our food system. Reading about it is another way to reflect on our relationship with the planet. 

Catherine's book list on to contemplate food systems

Catherine Zabinski Why did Catherine love this book?

Jackson has devoted his career to reforming agriculture by applying ecological principles garnered from prairie lands of the Bread Basket of North America. Based in Kansas, Jackson has worked toward generating perennial crops that don’t need to be seeded annually, and could be grown in mixtures (a grain, an oil seed, and a legume), to support healthy soils that will sustain food production for many generations. This book lays out the arguments for his approach and challenges the basis of our agricultural systems. 

By Wes Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consulting the Genius of the Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. A longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who for decades has taken it upon himself to speak for the land, to speak for the soil itself. Here, he offers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems—or, if one prefers, nature in general—as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.

Jackson believes the time is right to do away with annual monoculture grains,…


Book cover of Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

I didn’t discuss mental health in my own book, simply because the topic so vast and nuanced it really needs a book of its own. Luckily, it’s comprehensively discussed in this new volume, with chapters such as “The green city,” “The active city,” and “The playable city.” There are several concrete examples here from the authors’ own research into “neurourbanism,” or the application of neuroscience to urban design and planning, which are fascinating to read. An overarching theme, which I have found in my own research as well, is that the more access everyone has to nature and parks, the more beneficial it is for better mental and physical health. 

By Jenny Roe, Layla McCay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Overcrowding, noise and air pollution, long commutes and lack of daylight can take a huge toll on the mental well-being of city-dwellers. With mental healthcare services under increasing pressure, could a better approach to urban design and planning provide a solution? The restrictions faced by city residents around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought home just how much urban design can affect our mental health - and created an imperative to seize this opportunity. Restorative Cities explores a new way of designing cities, one which places mental health and wellness at the forefront. Establishing a blueprint for urban…


Book cover of The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

Michael Murphy is one of the co-founders of MASS Design Group, who may have seen profiled on 60 Minutes or in the Wall Street Journal. This design firm and nonprofit probably does some of the best and broadest work in health and justice-centered design, in projects from the United States to Haiti to Rwanda. I began my career in hospital design, and this book is both a history of innovative healthcare facilities but also provides an introduction to MASS Design’s incredibly innovative work in this sector and is beautifully and richly illustrated to boot.

By Michael P. Murphy, Jeffrey Mansfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Architecture of Health is a story about the design and life of hospitals-about how they are born and evolve, about the forces that give them shape, and the shifts that conspire to render them inadequate. Reading architecture through the history of hospitals is a deciphering tool for unlocking the elemental principles of architecture and the intractable laws of human and social conditions that architecture serves in each of our lives.

This book encounters brilliant and visionary designers who were hospital architects but also systems designers, driven by the aim of social change. They faced the contradictions of health care in…


Book cover of Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

This book is truly the primer for understanding all the ways in which urban planning, policy, and design effects health outcomes and collects the breadth of contemporary research on the topic in one volume. I have always assigned multiple chapters from the first book in one of my classes, which introduces students to these concepts, and will be making several updates to the syllabus now! The new second edition explores issues of health and environmental justice more in-depth, touches on COVID-19, and provides several examples of how cities and organizations have prioritized health in re-shaping their built environments.

By Nisha Botchwey (editor), Andrew L. Dannenberg (editor), Howard Frumkin (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first edition of Making Healthy Places offered a visionary and thoroughly researched treatment of the connections between constructed environments and human health. Since its publication over 10 years ago, the field of healthy community design has evolved significantly to address major societal problems, including health disparities, obesity, and climate change. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended how we live, work, learn, play, and travel.

In Making Healthy Places, Second Edition: Designing and Building for Well-Being, Equity, and Sustainability, planning and public health experts Nisha D. Botchwey, Andrew L. Dannenberg, and Howard Frumkin bring together scholars and practitioners from…


Book cover of How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built

David M. Weiss Author Of Software Product-Line Engineering: A Family-Based Software Development Process

From my list on for those interested in becoming engineers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I took a job as a programmer at the Naval Research Laboratory, working for astronomers who needed someone to write the code that would analyze the data coming back from the experiments that they flew on satellites and spacecraft. The first day on the job they showed me a sheet of FORTAN code and said “we want you to learn this.” It turned out to be the most fun thing I had ever done, and I went back to grad school and changed my major to computer science. I ended up as the Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Endowed Chair of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University.

David's book list on for those interested in becoming engineers

David M. Weiss Why did David love this book?

Brand starts off by exploring structure in architecture. Not only does he identify the six key structures in buildings, but he tells us how rapidly they change.

Never have I met or heard of a software architect who could predict for me how rapidly the structures that he/she uses to design and build his/her system will change. (Many can't even identify what the key structures in their systems are).

Brand then gives us lessons in what kinds of buildings undergo what kinds of changes, and how to build in a way that encourages or discourages change. He shows how owners modify their buildings over time, and how buildings evolve as they pass from one owner to another.

Structure, designing for change, and understanding the possible evolutionary paths that your construct may take are all topics that should intensely interest software engineers.

By Stewart Brand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buildings have often been studies whole in space, but never before have they been studied whole in time. How Buildings Learn is a masterful new synthesis that proposes that buildings adapt best when constantly refined and reshaped by their occupants, and that architects can mature from being artists of space to becoming artists of time.

From the connected farmhouses of New England to I.M. Pei's Media Lab, from "satisficing" to "form follows funding," from the evolution of bungalows to the invention of Santa Fe Style, from Low Road military surplus buildings to a High Road English classic like Chatsworth this…


Book cover of Resistant: A Novel

Evette Davis Author Of 48 States

From my list on being scared of the future (if you enjoy that).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked in journalism, politics, and public policy for 30-plus years and watched as the extreme voices gained the most traction on either side of a debate. On social media, these minority views often dominate the discussion. 48 States is a stand-alone novel highlighting the problems of extremist viewpoints in a civil society. I also have another book series that features a political consultant who discovers she's a witch and joins a secret society that uses magic to manipulate elections to protect humanity. Bottom line: if I can’t fix political discourse for a living, I can write science fiction novels that contemplate how to do it.

Evette's book list on being scared of the future (if you enjoy that)

Evette Davis Why did Evette love this book?

I came across this little gem of a novel through Libby, the app I use to borrow ebooks from the San Francisco Public Library. What I liked about the story's premise was the idea of bacteria evolving beyond what modern antibiotics can manage and how that could turn a simple paper cut into a deadly injury. 

By Rachael Sparks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thrilling debut in the style of Crichton or A.G. Riddle, Resistant imagines a chilling-and entirely plausible-future where antibiotics don't work, and weaves adventure, romance, and science into a thrilling chase for a cure.

In the final battle with drug-resistant bacteria, one woman's blood holds a secret weapon.

Rory and her father have survived the antibiotic crisis that has killed millions, including Rory's mother-but ingenuity and perseverance aren't their only advantages. When a stoic and scarred young military veteran enters their quiet life, Rory is drawn to him against her better judgment . . . until he exposes the secrets…


Book cover of Flexible Bodies: Tracking Immunity in American Culture from the Days of Polio to the Age of AIDS

Andrea Kitta Author Of The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore

From my list on reads before the next pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in medicine and how stories influence the decisions that people make for as long as I can remember. Watching family and friends make choices about their own healthcare was always fascinated to me and I was always curious as to why some narratives had more staying power than others. After getting my BA in history, I was lucky enough to talk to someone who suggested that I study folklore. I ended up with both a MA and PhD in folklore and became a professor who studies the intersection of folklore and how it affects the medical decisions we all make in our own lives and the lives of others. 

Andrea's book list on reads before the next pandemic

Andrea Kitta Why did Andrea love this book?

Emily Martin’s work was some of the first things I read when I wanted to understand how we understand medicine.

There’s such a gap between the health information we’re given and what we actually believe and Martin really covers how Americans have understood the concept of immunity and how we’re influenced by popular culture and the media.

This book is absolutely crucial for understanding both how we look at immunity and understanding how doctors are not free of bias. 

By Emily Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Argues that changing attitudes towards sickness and immunity are reflected in other views, such as the trend towards temporary employees who can be let go when no longer needed


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in family, presidential biography, and romantic love?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about family, presidential biography, and romantic love.

Family Explore 3,622 books about family
Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography
Romantic Love Explore 822 books about romantic love