100 books like Pity Transformed

By David Konstan,

Here are 100 books that Pity Transformed fans have personally recommended if you like Pity Transformed. 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 How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain

Lynne Malcolm Author Of All In The Mind: Fascinating, inspiring and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science

From my list on psychology of the human experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a science journalist and broadcaster with a degree in Psychology and a deep passion and fascination for people, their behavior, and the workings of the human mind.  For nine years, I produced and presented the popular Australian ABC radio program and podcast, All in the Mind, in which I explored a range of topics, including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, cognitive science, mental health, and human behavior. I’ve received numerous media awards and contributed to media award judging panels. All in the Mind - fascinating, inspiring, and transformative stories from the forefront of brain science is my first book. I continue to write and communicate about the topics I am inspired by. 

Lynne's book list on psychology of the human experience

Lynne Malcolm Why did Lynne love this book?

I love this book because it explores a new way of understanding human emotions. When you laugh, cry, or scowl with anger, you often assume that the emotions you're feeling are the same as everyone else’s. Lisa Feldman Barrett explains that this is not necessarily the case, according to the new science of emotion.

She clearly describes the research, including her own, that shows that emotions are not hard-wired at birth but are constructed by our brains and our bodies as we go through life. It means that we can be the architects of our emotional lives, and the implications for society are profound. Reading this book has excited me and given me a great deal of hope and optimism about how we can have more agency over our emotional lives. 

By Lisa Feldman Barrett,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked How Emotions Are Made as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Preeminent psychologist Lisa Barrett lays out how the brain constructs emotions in a way that could revolutionize psychology, health care, the legal system, and our understanding of the human mind.
“Fascinating . . . A thought-provoking journey into emotion science.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A singular book, remarkable for the freshness of its ideas and the boldness and clarity with which they are presented.”—Scientific American
“A brilliant and original book on the science of emotion, by the deepest thinker about this topic since Darwin.”—Daniel Gilbert, best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness
The science of emotion is in the midst of a…


Book cover of The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions

Rob Boddice Author Of The History of Emotions

From my list on what your emotions are and where they come from.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of emotions, science, and medicine, with more than a decade of experience in meddling in other scientific affairs, especially in the worlds of psychology and neuroscience. I’m fascinated by human emotions in part, at least, because I feel we’re living in a crude emotional age. I’ve worked in five different countries since gaining my PhD in 2005. In that time I’ve written or edited 14 books of historical non-fiction, as well as dozens of articles and reviews. You can freely read my work in Aeon or History Today. I live between Canada (my adopted country) and Finland, where I frequently lament the loss of my European citizenship.

Rob's book list on what your emotions are and where they come from

Rob Boddice Why did Rob love this book?

This was my entry point to emotion research, as it is for many others. Reddy’s work is of seismic importance to me and for most of the people I know. It is largely responsible for making the field in which I now work, or at least for making other people take it seriously.

Up until this book came out, there was nothing that could compare in terms of its theoretical sophistication and its careful application. I go back to this book again and again, for support, clarity, and direction. It is, probably, the most thumbed thing I own.

By William M. Reddy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions, William M. Reddy offers a theory of emotions which both critiques and expands upon recent research in the fields of anthropology and psychology. Exploring the links between emotion and cognition, between culture and emotional expression, Reddy applies this theory of emotions to the processes of history. He demonstrates how emotions change over time, how emotions have a very important impact on the course of events, and how different social orders either facilitate or constrain emotional life. In an investigation of Revolutionary France, where sentimentalism in literature and philosophy…


Book cover of The Ascent of Affect: Genealogy and Critique

Rob Boddice Author Of The History of Emotions

From my list on what your emotions are and where they come from.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of emotions, science, and medicine, with more than a decade of experience in meddling in other scientific affairs, especially in the worlds of psychology and neuroscience. I’m fascinated by human emotions in part, at least, because I feel we’re living in a crude emotional age. I’ve worked in five different countries since gaining my PhD in 2005. In that time I’ve written or edited 14 books of historical non-fiction, as well as dozens of articles and reviews. You can freely read my work in Aeon or History Today. I live between Canada (my adopted country) and Finland, where I frequently lament the loss of my European citizenship.

Rob's book list on what your emotions are and where they come from

Rob Boddice Why did Rob love this book?

I like a scholarly bin fire as much as the next person. Leys’ book assembles all the dross of twentieth-century psychological essentialism, douses it in gallons of scholarly scorn, and lights a match.

I think it is massively important that the personalities and authorities that give scientific ideas their power and traction are exposed and critiqued, as a means of moving the needle on emotion knowledge production. This is a scholarly book, no question, but I love it for its unrelenting demolition job.

By Ruth Leys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In recent years, the emotions have become a major, vibrant topic of research not merely in the biological and psychological sciences but throughout a wide swath of the humanities and social sciences as well. Yet, surprisingly, there is still no consensus on their basic nature or workings. Ruth Leys's brilliant, much anticipated history, therefore, is a story of controversy and disagreement. The Ascent of Affect focuses on the post-World War II period, when interest in the emotions as an object of study began to revive. Leys analyzes the ongoing debate over how to understand the emotions, paying particular attention to…


Book cover of Empathy: A History

Rob Boddice Author Of The History of Emotions

From my list on what your emotions are and where they come from.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of emotions, science, and medicine, with more than a decade of experience in meddling in other scientific affairs, especially in the worlds of psychology and neuroscience. I’m fascinated by human emotions in part, at least, because I feel we’re living in a crude emotional age. I’ve worked in five different countries since gaining my PhD in 2005. In that time I’ve written or edited 14 books of historical non-fiction, as well as dozens of articles and reviews. You can freely read my work in Aeon or History Today. I live between Canada (my adopted country) and Finland, where I frequently lament the loss of my European citizenship.

Rob's book list on what your emotions are and where they come from

Rob Boddice Why did Rob love this book?

I was desperately waiting for Lanzoni’s book to come out, being certain that it would be the key to displacing an all-too-easy tendency, among scientists, scholars and the general public alike, to make empathy the hardwired mechanism that defines humanity.

It frankly amazes me how quickly the fortunes of empathy rose in the second of half of the twentieth century when, fundamentally, nobody has been able to say precisely what it is, where it is, how it works or what its limits might be.

I loved Lanzoni’s book for laying it all out. Down with empathy!

By Susan Lanzoni,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A surprising, sweeping, and deeply researched history of empathy-from late-nineteenth-century German aesthetics to mirror neurons

Empathy: A History tells the fascinating and largely unknown story of the first appearance of empathy in 1908 and tracks its shifting meanings over the following century. Despite the word's ubiquity today, few realize that it began as a translation of Einfuhlung ("in-feeling"), a term in German psychological aesthetics that described how spectators projected their own feelings and movements into objects of art and nature.

Remarkably, this early conception of empathy transformed into its opposite over the ensuing decades. Social scientists and clinical psychologists refashioned…


Book cover of The Princess

Toni Shiloh Author Of In Search of a Prince

From my list on for a royal happy ever after.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by fictional royal stories ever since I was a little kid watching them unfold in children’s movies. Once I became a reader, I quickly became a fan of the genre. There’s such an escapism that comes with reading books about royals. And since America has no monarch, the books offer a fantasy and fairy-tale aspect to the reading. I read these books to relax, to fall in love with love, and to cheer for the ordinary person finding something extraordinary in their world—real or fictional.

Toni's book list on for a royal happy ever after

Toni Shiloh Why did Toni love this book?

I love the marriage-of-convenience trope and The Princess not only has that but couples it with an arranged marriage trope. There’s so much emotion in this book coupled with a Christianity arc that has endeared itself to readers for decades. I read this book decades after its release date, but I could quickly see why so many people enjoyed their royal happy ever after.

By Lori Wick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Return to the Romance of Pendaran

In the Land of Pendaran, Shelby Parker lives a humble but good life. Her special qualities are eventually noticed by the king and queen of the House of Markham, who seek a new wife for their widowed son, Prince Nikolai.

To uphold the tradition of their country, Shelby and Nikolai agree to an arranged marriage. But while Nikolai is a perfect gentleman in public, he remains distant at home, leaving Shelby to wonder what is in his heart. Will the prince ever love her as he did his first wife? Can the faith they…


Book cover of Medieval Sensibilities: A History of Emotions in the Middle Ages

Barbara H. Rosenwein Author Of Love: A History in Five Fantasies

From my list on the history of emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, teacher, and researcher who has always been interested in my own emotions and those of others. But I decided to write about the emotions of the past only after I became a historian of the Middle Ages. My discoveries began with the early medieval period. Now I enjoy looking at the full sweep of Western history. I have come to realize that at no time did we all share the same feelings nor evaluate them the same way. Instead, we live and have always lived in “emotional communities” with others who share our feelings—and alongside still others who do not. I hope my booklist will pique your interest in this new and exciting field.

Barbara's book list on the history of emotions

Barbara H. Rosenwein Why did Barbara love this book?

All who are convinced that the Middle Ages was a barbaric period in which emotions were on the whole angry and violent will quickly change their mind as soon as they pick up this book. It shows that, far from being a stagnant interlude between the richly emotional worlds of classical antiquity and our own age, the period we call the Middle Ages was in constant emotional ferment, drawing above all on the implications of Christ’s passion and what it meant for human sensibilities.

By Damien Boquet, Piroska Nagy, Robert Shaw (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What do we know of the emotional life of the Middle Ages? Though a long-neglected subject, a multitude of sources - spiritual and secular literature, iconography, chronicles, as well as theological and medical works - provide clues to the central role emotions played in medieval society.

In this work, historians Damien Boquet and Piroska Nagy delve into a rich variety of texts and images to reveal the many and nuanced experiences of emotion during the Middle Ages - from the demonstrative shame of a saint to a nobleman's fear of embarrassment, from the enthusiasm of a crusading band to the…


Book cover of Child of the Sun

Andrew Chugg Author Of Alexander's Lovers

From my list on sexual relationships in Greek and Roman antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I voyaged into the ancient world in the readings of my youth, it led me to realize that the gay-straight divide in modern perceptions of sexuality and relationships is an artifice. It was constructed by the conceit of the ascetic religions that the only legitimate purpose of sex is the production of children within a sanctified marital relationship. In Antiquity, the divide followed a more natural course between the groups who were the sexually active partners (mainly adult men) and those who were sexually passive (mainly women, youths, and eunuchs). My hope is to disperse some of the confusion that the obscuration of this historical reality has caused.

Andrew's book list on sexual relationships in Greek and Roman antiquity

Andrew Chugg Why did Andrew love this book?

What would happen if a randy teenage boy became Emperor of Rome after winning a pitched battle against a usurper? Would the magisterial traditions and decorum of the office triumph over adolescent hormones or vice versa? Actually, there is no need to speculate about the answer, because it happened in real life and was recorded in several ancient histories that have come down to us. This novel, though billed upon its publication as erotic, is quite closely based on those histories. Clue: the hormonal impulses of teenage boys are quite hard to suppress.

By Kyle Onstott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This brilliant and brutally intimate novel captures accurately the depravity and intrigue of Ancient Rome. CHILD OF THE SUN tells the story of the youth Varius Avitus Hassianus, destined to become Emperor of the Roman empire. Varius spurned women. His erotic longings searched out a very different kind of love. Whatever or whomever he fancied was quickly offered to him. And no man, be he soldier or citizen, dared refuse him. As his perverted passions grew more and more bizarre, even the voluptuaries of Rome recoiled in horror.


Book cover of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

Paul Hay Author Of Saeculum: Defining Historical Eras in Ancient Roman Thought

From my list on for aspiring Roman history buffs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of Roman history who teaches and writes about the social world of the ancient Romans. I’m drawn to the topic of ancient Rome because it seems simultaneously familiar and alien: the people always “feel real” to me, but the many cultural differences between Rome and modern America prod me to contemplate those aspects and values of my own world that I take for granted. I enjoy the high moral stakes of the political machinations as well as the aesthetic beauty of the artistic creations of Rome. And the shadow of Rome still looms large in American culture, so I find the study of antiquity endlessly instructive.

Paul's book list on for aspiring Roman history buffs

Paul Hay Why did Paul love this book?

Perhaps the best place to start for a novice looking to learn about Roman history. I have had students, friends, and family all tell me that this was the book that really got them excited about ancient Rome.

Beard is a very witty, engaging writer who is able to combine major historical moments with obscure but revealing anecdotes to tell a coherent narrative of Roman history. She also demonstrates, such as in her introductory chapter’s discussion of modern references to the ancient conflict between Cicero and Catiline, the continuing relevance of Roman history to our understanding of politics today.

By Mary Beard,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked SPQR as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but…


Book cover of A Time in Rome

Scott Samuelson Author Of Rome as a Guide to the Good Life: A Philosophical Grand Tour

From my list on finding the meaning of life in Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

After learning Latin in college and studying Italian philosophy in graduate school, I stumbled into Rome for the first time over a decade ago as faculty on a study-abroad trip. In two weeks, I learned more about history and life than I had in two decades of study. I’ve been lucky enough to go back every summer since, with the sad exception of the pandemic years. I adore Rome. It didn’t help that a few years ago, in the Basilica of San Clemente, I fell head over heels for a Renaissance art historian and tried her patience with poetry until she married me.

Scott's book list on finding the meaning of life in Rome

Scott Samuelson Why did Scott love this book?

This book is a treasure-trove of wise and gorgeous sentences—like, “Knowledge of Rome must be physical, sweated into the system, worked up into the brain through the thinning shoe-leather. Substantiality comes through touch and smell, and taste, the tastes of different dusts.”

Like the Eternal City, A Time in Rome by the Irish-British novelist Elizabeth Bowen doesn’t fit into tidy categories.

Is it a guidebook to the city? Is it a memoir? Is it a history of Rome? Yes and no.

Though I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, I love it. It’s a perfect book for reveries over a mid-morning caffé.

By Elizabeth Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Time in Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth Bowen's account of a time spent in Rome is no ordinary guidebook but an evocation of a city - its history, its architecture and, above all, its atmosphere. She describes the famous classical sites, conjuring from the ruins visions of former inhabitants and their often bloody activities and speculates about the immense noise of ancient Rome, the problems caused by the Romans' dining posture, and the Roman temperament. She evokes the city's moods - by day, when it is characterised by golden sunlight, and at night, when the blaze of the moon 'annihilates history'.


Book cover of Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide

Judith Harris Author Of Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery

From my list on the joys of life in classical antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a freelance journalist in Italy, I covered, for Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and others, tough topics: terrorism, the Mafia, the heroin traffic which passed via Sicilian laboratories to the U.S. At a certain point I found this overly negative. After taking a course in Rome on archaeology, by chance I was asked to direct a BBC half-hour documentary on Pompeii. In so doing, I realized that it was  time to focus upon the many positive elements of Italian life and history. From that life-changing documentary came this book on Pompeii, on which I worked for five rewarding years. My next book was on historical Venice.

Judith's book list on the joys of life in classical antiquity

Judith Harris Why did Judith love this book?

The late Amanda Claridge, a professor at the University of London, introduces us to the ancient city in the book she co-authored: Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide, now on offer as Rome, An archaeological guide. Over time, archaeology itself changes, and today's critics say that her presentation of up-to-date archaeology in Rome equally entrances both tourists and her fellow scholars. She taught at both Oxford and the University of London, as well as at Princeton University in the U.S. 

By Amanda Claridge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The city of Rome is the largest archaeological site in the world, capital and showcase of the Roman Empire and the centre of Christian Europe.

This guide provides:

* Coverage of all the important sites in the city from 800 BC to AD 600 and the start of the early middle ages, drawing on the latest discoveries and the best of recent scholarship

* Over 220 high-quality maps, site plans, diagrams and photographs

* Sites divided into fourteen main areas, with star ratings to help you plan and prioritize your visit:
Roman Forum; Upper Via Sacra; Palatine; Imperial Forums; Campus…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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