10 books like Sea and Sardinia

By D.H. Lawrence,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Sea and Sardinia. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Italians

By Luigi Barzini,

Book cover of The Italians

Want to know what really makes Italians tick? Why they’re so obsessed with la bella figura? What family means to them? Where the good side of the mindset morphs into the bad? The afia. Corruption. Barzini was the son of a journalist close to Mussolini, but went to high school and university in New York. This book, which he wrote in English in 1965 is as at once hilarious and essential reading.

The Italians

By Luigi Barzini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this consummate portrait of the Italian people, bestselling author, publisher, journalist, and politician Luigi Barzini delves deeply into the Italian national character, discovering both its great qualities and its imperfections.

Barzini is startlingly frank as he examines “the two Italies”: the one that created and nurtured such luminaries as Dante Alighieri, St. Thomas of Aquino, and Leonardo da Vinci; the other, feeble and prone to catastrophe, backward in political action if not in thought, “invaded, ravaged, sacked, and humiliated in every century.” Deeply ambivalent, Barzini approaches his task with a combination of love, hate, disillusion, and affectionate paternalism, resulting…


Family Lexicon

By Natalia Ginzburg, Jenny McPhee (translator),

Book cover of Family Lexicon

Among the greatest family memoirs of all time. Novelist, Natalia Ginzburg (née Levi) grew up in a big family in Turin between the wars. Her Jewish father was a famous and famously irascible scientist, her mother a charmer from the well-to-do bourgeoisie. The last of five, Natalia gives a sparkling picture of the loves, friendships and conflicts between her older brothers and sisters as Fascist Italy drifted toward war. Impossible not to laugh and cry, while at the same time getting a sense of the deeper forces driving Italian life.

Family Lexicon

By Natalia Ginzburg, Jenny McPhee (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction

An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking—when he isn’t provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways…


Christ Stopped at Eboli

By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (translator),

Book cover of Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year

This book does not take place in Sicily however, the plights of the inhabitants of a small southern town in Luncania are the same as those Italians in parts of Sicily where even in the ’60s, many families lived in caves. Carlo Levi, a doctor, painter, and writer is sent to Eboli because of his opposition to Mussolini and Italy’s Fascist government. Levi’s book is about the harsh life of its citizens who continued to live according to the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors, including healing by natural methods and black magic and superstitions.   

Christ Stopped at Eboli

By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Christ Stopped at Eboli as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'There should be a history of this Italy, a history outside the framework of time, confining itself to that which is changeless and eternal, in other words, a mythology. This Italy has gone its way in darkness and silence, like the earth, in a sequence of recurrent seasons and recurrent misadventures. Every outside influence has broken over it like a wave, without leaving a trace.'

So wrote Carlo Levi - doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of conscience - in describing the land and the people of Lucania, where he was banished in 1935, at the start of the Ethiopian war,…


The Prince

By Niccolò Machiavelli, Tim Parks (translator),

Book cover of The Prince

Machiavelli is often despised as the man who promoted both authoritarian leaders and the notion that the ends justify the means, but this is to misunderstand the importance of the context within which he was writing: 16th century Florence – which was besieged by enemies on every side who proclaimed adherence to the Christian faith but acted as monsters. Machiavelli’s writing made two things clear to me. First, leaders and leadership cannot be understood if you abstract them from their context – when political morality is a contradiction in terms then leaders must be wary of sacrificing their followers for the sake of that same fallacious morality. Second, he lays out how dictators obtain and retain power – and in doing so establishes what we need to do to stop them or remove them. 

The Prince

By Niccolò Machiavelli, Tim Parks (translator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power.  Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president.  When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic.  In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion.  Today, this small…


The Blue Zones Solution

By Dan Buettner,

Book cover of The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World's Healthiest People

Author Dan Buettner shares what he has learned by studying the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities known as “Blue Zones”—Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. What do these longevity hot spots have in common? It’s not just what you eat; it’s also how you live.

The Blue Zones Solution

By Dan Buettner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the audacious belief that the lifestyles of the world's Blue Zones could be adapted and replicated in towns across North America, Buettner launched the largest preventive healthcare project in the United States--The Blue Zones City Makeovers. In these pages, readers can be inspired by the specific stories of the people, foods, and routines of our healthy elders; understand the role community, family, and naturally healthy habits can play to improve our diet and health; and learn the exact foods--including the 50 superfoods of longevity and dozens of recipes adapted for Western tastes and markets--that offer delicious ways to eat…


The Etruscan World

By Jean MacIntosh Turfa (editor),

Book cover of The Etruscan World

This is a rich, encyclopedic-like collection of brief chapters about various aspects of Etruscan culture by all the major scholars (60!) in the field. If you are looking to gain access to Etruscan civilization by randomly reading about particular aspects—from art (the evidence of the earliest portraiture) to women’s lives to sport to engineering to trading contactsthen this is the book for you. All of the chapters are written very accessibly, andwhile shortthey are packed with information and helpful suggestions for further reading.

The Etruscan World

By Jean MacIntosh Turfa (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Etruscans can be shown to have made significant, and in some cases perhaps the first, technical advances in the central and northern Mediterranean. To the Etruscan people we can attribute such developments as the tie-beam truss in large wooden structures, surveying and engineering drainage and water tunnels, the development of the foresail for fast long-distance sailing vessels, fine techniques of metal production and other pyrotechnology, post-mortem C-sections in medicine, and more. In art, many technical and iconographic developments, although they certainly happened first in Greece or the Near East, are first seen in extant Etruscan works, preserved in the…


A Farewell to Arms

By Ernest Hemingway,

Book cover of A Farewell to Arms

No writer of fiction can afford to ignore Hemingway’s spare, disciplined prose, and I have been studying him since I began to write as a kid. “No writer makes us feel more alive,” wrote the critic Alfred Kazin of Hemngway, and to read him is an emotional awakening. A Farewell to Arms, which is set in Italy in World War I, is one of the world’s great love stories. 

A Farewell to Arms

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Farewell to Arms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ernest Hemingway's classic novel of love during wartime.

Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield, this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

Hemingway famously rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. A…


Living in Italy

By Stef Smulders, Emese Mayhew (translator),

Book cover of Living in Italy: the Real Deal

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair, you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast. For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. Moreover, for those interested in practical advice on buying a house in Italy there is valuable information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories. Glossary of Italian words and expressions included!

Living in Italy

By Stef Smulders, Emese Mayhew (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Dutch bestseller, finally available in translation! 

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy to live La Dolce Vita? Have a Reality Check first!

Stef & Nico did take the leap, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast.

For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. And for those interested in practical advice on how to buy a house in Italy there is useful…


The White War

By Mark Thompson,

Book cover of The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919

Even though Italy was one of the “victors,” its participation on the allied side was the cause of the government’s collapse, and the rise Mussolini and the fascisti, with all the calamities that followed.  This book provides a truly horrifying explanation of why that was so.

The White War

By Mark Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In May 1915, Italy declared war on the Habsburg Empire. Nearly 750,000 Italian troops were killed in savage, hopeless fighting on the stony hills north of Trieste and in the snows of the Dolomites. To maintain discipline, General Luigi Cadorna restored the Roman practice of decimation, executing random members of units that retreated or rebelled. With elegance and pathos, historian Mark Thompson relates the saga of the Italian front, the nationalist frenzy and political intrigues that preceded the conflict, and the towering personalities of the statesmen, generals, and writers drawn into the heart of the chaos. A work of epic…


The Postcard from Italy

By Angela Petch,

Book cover of The Postcard from Italy

I have read several of Angela Petch’s excellent novels, all set in Tuscany. I lived in Tuscany for two years, and her descriptions not only of the countryside but also the characters that inhabit this special part of the world are spot on. This novel kept my interest, was well-plotted, and a real pleasure to read. Her research into the wartime period is well done, and I love the details about how people lived back then. It really is another world. How our modern world integrates with it, and what we can learn from it, is something I feel she explores really well, by introducing the past to the present through her characters. 

The Postcard from Italy

By Angela Petch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Italy, 1945. ‘Where am I?’ The young man wakes, bewildered. He sees olive trees against a bright blue sky. A soft voice soothes him. ‘We saw you fall from your plane. The parachute saved you.’ He remembers nothing of his life, or the war that has torn the world apart… but where does he belong?

England, present day. Antique-shop-owner Susannah wipes away a tear as she tidies her grandmother’s belongings. Elsie’s memories are fading, and every day Susannah feels further away from her only remaining family. But everything changes when she stumbles across a yellowed postcard of a beautiful Italian…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 1, Italy, and Sicily?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 1, Italy, and Sicily.

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