99 books like Paris Between the Wars

By Vincent Bouvet, Gérard Durozoi,

Here are 99 books that Paris Between the Wars fans have personally recommended if you like Paris Between the Wars. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Moveable Feast

Stephen Rowley Author Of The Lost Coin: A Memoir of Adoption and Destiny

From my list on memoirs that will ignite your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated by memoirs that shed light on the deeper life experiences of their authors. My curiosity about inner life compelled me to learn about the psychological essence of memoir writers, resulting in my writing a memoir from an in-depth psychological perspective. My curiosity also led me to become a psychotherapist, which helped me better navigate dark and uncertain waters with my clients. By probing the inner psychological dynamics of such memoirs, I learned more about myself and became a writer with rare psychological insight. Such illumination served to ignite my very soul. My passion is fueled by tapping the mysteries of what lies within us all. 

Stephen's book list on memoirs that will ignite your soul

Stephen Rowley Why did Stephen love this book?

At age 15, I was captivated by Ernest Hemingway and his depiction of Paris in the 1920s. This book today reignites the enchantment of those years. Hemingway's profound influence shaped my aspirations as a writer. Through his eyes, I can vividly see Paris's cafés, salons, and vibrant social scenes, which ultimately became the backdrop of my dreams.

This book, rich with lovemaking, drinking, writing, betting at the track, and the bohemian lifestyle of so many young artists in Paris, reawakens my desire to immerse myself in that world. Hemingway's narrative voice and his novels continue to speak to me in a language that feels intimately mine, reminding me of the undying impact of his work on my life and aspirations.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Moveable Feast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. Since Hemingway's personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined and debated the changes made to the text before publication. Now this new special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published.

Featuring a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son, and an introduction by the editor and grandson of the author, Sean Hemingway, this new edition also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son Jack and…


Book cover of The Great Gatsby

David Nicholson Author Of The Garretts of Columbia: A Black South Carolina Family from Slavery to the Dawn of Integration

From my list on race in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though I was born in the U.S., I didn’t wind up living here full-time till I was almost 10. The result? I have always been curious about what it means to be an American. In one way or another, the books on my list explore that question. More than that, all (well, nearly all) insist that black history is inextricably intertwined with American history and that American culture is a mulatto culture, a fusion of black and white. After years of making my living as a journalist, editor, and book reviewer, I left newspapers to write fiction and non-fiction, exploring these and other questions.

David's book list on race in America

David Nicholson Why did David love this book?

Was the hero of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic African-American?

A couple of academics have advanced that theory. I’m not sure I buy it. The notion (and supporting “evidence”) seems little more than a literary parlor game, not to mention the fact that nothing in Fitzgerald’s work or his letters shows a particular engagement with, or sympathy for, black Americans.

Still, it’s an interesting metaphor and the reason this seminal American novel appears in a list of what’s otherwise non-fiction. Gatsby’s yearning for his lost love could be an African-American yearning for a beloved country that does not always love them in return.

I first read this book in high school. It wasn’t until my second, third, and fourth re-reading that I began to appreciate Fitzgerald’s gift for story-telling and his evocative, poignant language. And to identify with Gatsby, the outsider craving to become an insider.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Great Gatsby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby's world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby - even from what Gatsby himself tells him - the less he seems to believe. Did he really go to Oxford University? Was Gatsby a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man? Nick recalls how he comes to know Gatsby and how he also enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. Does their money make them any happier? Do the stories all connect? Shall we come to know…


Book cover of Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939

Katherine Giuffre Author Of Outrage: The Arts and the Creation of Modernity

From my list on maverick creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent my career as a sociologist studying how creative people work, what social settings are most conducive to creativity, and how to foster creativity for everyone in our daily lives. I know that creativity is often not easy and can even be met with hostility much more frequently than we might think. Creativity is, after all, a type of deviance and creative people can face real obstacles in finding and following their vision. But a richer understanding of how and why creativity happens – and of its obstacles – can be a tool for making a more vibrant, creative, inclusive, and just world.

Katherine's book list on maverick creativity

Katherine Giuffre Why did Katherine love this book?

What I love about this book is the way it delves into all the intimate details of a group of artists/writers/creators in early 20th-century England who rebelled against the day-to-day strictures of a buttoned-up society and embraced eccentricity in even the most humdrum aspects of their lives.

What did they eat? What did they wear? Where did their children go to school? I wouldn’t necessarily imitate absolutely everything that these iconoclasts did, but the allure of their example is intoxicating.

By Virginia Nicholson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Among the Bohemians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Virginia Nicholson's Among the Bohemians is a portrait of England's artistic community in the first half of the twentieth century, engaged in a grand experiment.

Subversive, eccentric and flamboyant - the Bohemians ate garlic and didn't always wash; they painted and danced and didn't care what people thought. They sent their children to co-ed schools; explored homosexuality and Free Love. They were often drunk, broke and hungry but they were rebels.

In this fascinating book Virginia Nicholson examines the way the Bohemians refashioned the way we live our lives.

'Interesting, gorgeous, wonderful.... this book displays the best of bohemia itself…


Book cover of Drawn from Life: A Memoir

Tessa Lunney Author Of Autumn Leaves, 1922: A Kiki Button Mystery

From my list on the 1920s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading about the 1920s after I read Among the Bohemians by Virginia Nicholson in 2008. I kept reading about the 1920s, particularly 1920s Paris, through my Masters and then my Doctorate in war fiction. I would read about interwar Europe, or America, or Britain, when I needed to work on my doctorate but was too tired to read about trenches or trauma, and it became an obsession. Then it became the subject of two novels, which involved more and more particular research. I love the period's brittle gaiety, its dirty glamour, a time of cultural and political revolution as people fought for a better world.

Tessa's book list on the 1920s

Tessa Lunney Why did Tessa love this book?

This book should not be out of print. It is beautifully written – economical, witty yet discreet, and joyful. Bowen was a young woman from Adelaide, in South Australia, who set off to London to be an artist and landed there during the Great War. She had a long affair and daughter with writer Ford Madox Ford, painted and partied in Paris, moved her daughter back to England in time to watch German bombers fly overhead during the Blitz. This book became another guide for how to live the creative life, the bohemian life, a life full of honesty and art. Like Hemingway’s memoir, it’s full of anecdotes of other writers and artists that were her friends for a time. It reflects on what it means to be an artist, a woman artist, an artist and mother, ideas that still hold true as they are about the inner life of…

By Stella Bowen,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Good Morning, Midnight

Janet Skeslien Charles Author Of The Paris Library

From my list on ups and downs in Paris: C'est La Vie.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library and Moonlight in Odessa. Like the authors on the list I selected for Shepherd, I'm skilled at turning experiences at minimum-wage jobs into novels. I earned $25 a month teaching full-time at a high school in Odessa, which is the setting for my first novel. My second book takes place at the American Library in Paris, where I was the programs manager. Setting is the start of my fiction, because I believe that where we are from has a lot to do with who we are. I hope that you’ll enjoy these selections.

Janet's book list on ups and downs in Paris: C'est La Vie

Janet Skeslien Charles Why did Janet love this book?

“I want a long, calm book about people with large incomes – a book like a flat green meadow and the sheep feeding in it… I read most of the time and I am happy.” First published in1939, this novel is a portrait of a woman who struggles in Paris. She is on her own and has no job or money.

By Jean Rhys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The last of the four novels Jean Rhys wrote in interwar Paris, Good Morning, Midnight is the culmination of a searing literary arc, which established Rhys as an astute observer of human tragedy. Her everywoman heroine, Sasha, must confront the loves- and losses- of her past in this mesmerizing and formally daring psychological portrait.


Book cover of In My Fashion

Dana Thomas Author Of Fashionopolis: Why What We Wear Matters

From my list on fashion in Paris.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dana Thomas is the author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano and the New York Times bestseller Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Thomas began her career writing for the Style section of The Washington Post, and for fifteen years she served as a cultural and fashion correspondent for Newsweek in Paris. She is currently a contributing editor for British Vogue, and a regular contributor to The New York Times Style section and Architectural Digest. She wrote the screenplay for Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, a feature documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino. In 2016, the French Minister of Culture named Thomas a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. She lives in Paris.

Dana's book list on fashion in Paris

Dana Thomas Why did Dana love this book?

Ballard was the Paris editor for American Vogue between the wars, before returning to New York to help run the glossy. In 1960, she published her memoir, In My Fashion, a wonderful snapshot not only of the fashion industry during the European Modernist era, but also of life as a young single American woman in Paris at its most Paris-y. You don’t have to be a fashion lover to love this book.

By Bettina Ballard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bettina Ballard, Paris-based correspondent and later Fashion Editor for US Vogue, was at the centre of the fashion world from the 1930s to the ’50s and an intimate of Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli. With journalistic flair, she captures the spirit of pre-war Paris, the working methods of the fashion greats and the transformation of the post-war fashion industry with the arrival of Dior.


Book cover of The Girl with the Golden Eyes

David Downie Author Of Red Riviera

From my list on crime novels that double as travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s watching Alfred Hitchcock movies and reading Dashiell Hammett—I’m from San Francisco. Then opera got hold of me. So, I dropped out of my PhD program, left Dante’s Inferno behind, and moved to Paris to live a modern-day La Bohème. Because I’m half-Italian, I decided I had to divide my life between Paris and Italy. Mystery, murder, romance, longing, and betrayal were what fueled my passions and still do. To earn a living, I became a travel, food, and arts reporter. These interests and the locales of my life come together in my own crime and mystery novels.

David's book list on crime novels that double as travel books

David Downie Why did David love this book?

Do you want the gritty, pungent beauty of Paris during the heyday of the Romantics—the 1830s? You want perversion, decadence, a crazy, kinky plot revolving around sex, dominance, Sapphic passion, murder, and intrigue, set in the Trocadero neighborhood? Only Honoré de Balzac could dream up something this wild and get away with it. One of the wonders of this short novel is how, through casual descriptions, Paris comes to life. It’s not a picture-postcard version of the city. Au contraire. It’s a seamy, real place I recognize after 35 years living there. While I was reading The Girl with the Golden Eyes, I actually went out and found the locations. The city has changed less than you’d think in 190 years. Above all, the seamy, perverse side remains.

By Honoré de Balzac,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl with the Golden Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beginning with a visceral description of the society and politics of Paris, The Girl with the Golden Eyes considers the sex life of the upper class by its raw depiction of the underside of Parisian life. Henri de Marsay is a young, rich man who is nearly devoid of morals and virtue. After he meets Paquita Valdes, a mysterious and beautiful woman, he becomes infested with a deviant lust for her. When his plan to seduce her succeeds, Henri and Paquita maintain an intensely sexual relationship. However, when Henri starts to suspect Paquita is involved with another lover, he becomes…


Book cover of The Kill

Mary Soderstrom Author Of Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future

From my list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to say I'm a born-again pedestrian. After a childhood in car-friendly Southern California, I moved first to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Montreal. There I discovered the pleasures of living in walkable cities, and over the years I've explored them in a series of books about people, nature, and urban spaces in which the problems of spread-out, concrete-heavy cities take a front-row seat. The impact of the way we've built our cities over the last 100 years is becoming apparent, as carbon dioxide rises, driving climate changes. We must change the way we live, and the books I suggest give some insights about what to do and what not to do.

Mary's book list on to design a workable, walkable, wonderful city

Mary Soderstrom Why did Mary love this book?

Sometimes it's helpful, even encouraging, to discover that problems we face today were faced by people in the past.  Emile Zola wrote a series of novels about Paris in the mid-19th century at a time when the City of Light was being rebuilt along pretty extraordinary lines. At the same time that poor people were being tossed out of their substandard housing, some people were making fortunes speculating in real estate. The Kill focuses on the personal dramas of people on both sides of the equation, with quite a lot of sex thrown in to spice things up.

By Émile Zola, Brian Nelson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'It was the time when the rush for spoils filled a corner of the forest with the yelping of hounds, the cracking of whips, the flaring of torches. The appetites let loose were satisfied at last, shamelessly, amid the sound of crumbling neighbourhoods and fortunes made in six months. The city had become an orgy of gold and women.'

The Kill (La Curee) is the second volume in Zola's great cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, and the first to establish Paris - the capital of modernity - as the centre of Zola's narrative world. Conceived as a representation of…


Book cover of Lost Property

Sally Jenkins Author Of Little Museum of Hope

From my list on life-affirming.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like books driven by characters who ride the same emotional rollercoaster as we all do in real life. Characters who love the wrong people or who lose the people they were right to love or who fail to match the norms expected by society. Characters I can empathise with, root for, and learn from. A fairytale happy ending is not necessary and can detract from the magic of a book. But I do like to be left with a feeling of hope. If a fictional character can learn to approach life more positively, then maybe I can too! This is what I try to achieve in my own books.

Sally's book list on life-affirming

Sally Jenkins Why did Sally love this book?

I have a very large ‘To Be Read’ pile and occasionally I discover a book has stagnated there for far longer than it deserves. Lost Property is one of those – I wish I’d read it and discovered the language of Helen Paris much sooner.

It’s the story of Dot Watson whose life veered off course when she lost her father and, instead of an exciting career, she makes do with working in the London Transport Lost Property Office. When a lost purse turns up, she finds her purpose and sets off on a mission.

Dot, like most of us, just needs a little help finding out who she really is.

By Helen Paris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An enthralling read, full of rich descriptions and characters you can't help but love.' Hazel Prior

'A wonderfully rich, funny and brimming with heart book.' Beth Morrey
_________________________

Dot Watson has lost her way.

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother's care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives…


Book cover of That Night in Paris

Nina Kaye Author Of Take a Moment

From my list on strong female leads who’d make great dinner guests.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my twenties mostly devouring women’s fiction and romance novels with female leads, but I also stepped outside my preferred genre. Being a strong lead doesn’t necessarily mean saving the world or doing something heroic (though obviously that helps!), it’s about strength of character, being real, and being able to fight on when things get difficult. I always dreamt of being an author, but only started writing properly when I developed a debilitating long-term health condition. I used writing to support my rehabilitation and this led to me finally achieving that dream – so in a way, I see myself as a strong female lead in my own story. 

Nina's book list on strong female leads who’d make great dinner guests

Nina Kaye Why did Nina love this book?

That Night in Paris is the second book in Sandy Barker’s Holiday Romance Series, which is packed with beautifully described holiday destinations and the will-they-won’t-they moments we romance readers love. In That Night in Paris, Cat books an impromptu European coach trip in desperation after she has a few too many wines and sleeps with her flatmate. And what a decision that turns out to be when she bumps into her long-lost teenage crush in Paris.     

Cat’s on my dinner guest list because she’s feisty, fun, and oozes sass, while at the same time having a more vulnerable side that would get the deeper conversations going by dessert. Sometimes strong women who are confident and outspoken (in a good way) can be criticised and labelled negatively, but women like Cat should be applauded for being real. 

By Sandy Barker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That Night in Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Note to self: don't sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine... especially if he's secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.

Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn't do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the 'L' word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.

A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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