68 books like Sea and Sardinia

By D.H. Lawrence,

Here are 68 books that Sea and Sardinia fans have personally recommended if you like Sea and Sardinia. 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 The Italians

Dominic Smith Author Of Return to Valetto

From my list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history.

Who am I?

I’ve just spent the last few years writing Return to Valetto, about a nearly abandoned village in Umbria and the last ten people who live there. In 2018, I received an NEA grant to conduct research in Italy and I visited about a dozen abandoned and nearly abandoned towns all across Italy. While I was traveling, I immersed myself in books about Italy—from history and biography to memoir and fiction. The books on my list were stepping stones in my education about all things Italian and I hope you find them as transporting as I did!

Dominic's book list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history

Dominic Smith Why did Dominic love this book?

In many ways, this sort of book has gone out of style since it was published in the 1960s.

It’s an opinionated and ambitious portrayal of the Italian psyche and culture. Barzini looks at his fellow Italians with a dispassionate eye and a healthy sense of irreverence, uncovering their foibles, hidden beliefs, superstitions, and great strengths as a culture.

For me, Italy is an eternal paradox. Just when you think you’ve worked it out, something happens that makes you do a double-take. This book helps you understand that paradox has been part of Italy’s identity since the very beginning.

By Luigi Barzini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors 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…


Book cover of Family Lexicon

Tim Parks Author Of An Italian Education: The Further Adventures of an Expatriate in Verona

From my list on understanding the Italian mindset.

Who am I?

Tim Parks moved to Italy in 1981 and is still there today. He has written five bestselling books about the country, brought up three splendid Italian children and translated some of the country’s best-loved authors. There cannot be many foreigners more familiar with the country, its literature, its history and its people.

Tim's book list on understanding the Italian mindset

Tim Parks Why did Tim love this book?

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.

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…


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

Roland Merullo Author Of Dessert with Buddha

From my list on thoughtful works of fiction and non-fiction.

Who am I?

My twenty novels tend to focus on characters who face great challenges, and I have a particular appreciation for beautiful prose. I don’t read for distraction or entertainment, but to be enlightened, moved, and made more compassionate about different kinds of people in different environments.

Roland's book list on thoughtful works of fiction and non-fiction

Roland Merullo Why did Roland love this book?

It’s a beautiful memoir by a Jewish doctor/painter/political activist who was sent into exile by Mussolini for his anti-fascist political activism. It’s deeply heartfelt and gorgeously written as Levi gets to know the extraordinarily poor peasants of a tiny village in interior southern Italy.

I love all things Italian and so it speaks to me, but I also have a great deal of compassion for the have-nots of this world. Levi describes them with wonderful sympathy and respect (at the same time sharply criticizing the petty bureaucrats and the puffed-up local officials).

By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 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,…


Book cover of The Prince

Keith Grint Author Of Leadership: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on understanding why we get the leaders we do.

Who am I?

There’s something about leadership that intrigues me. I was an army child and that might help explain why I was expelled from school and had a rather unorthodox pre-academic career: I had fourteen jobs in nine years between leaving school and starting university, and several of those involved significant leadership roles that clashed with managerial authority. Both my undergraduate degrees and my doctorate were focused on trying to understand how authority worked, so it was almost inevitable that I ended up as a leadership scholar. But my greatest achievements have been co-founding the journal Leadership in 2005 and its related International Studying Leadership Conference, now in its 20th year.

Keith's book list on understanding why we get the leaders we do

Keith Grint Why did Keith love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of The Etruscan World

Sinclair Bell Author Of A Companion to the Etruscans

From my list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated with ancient civilizations since my parents, amateur historians, moved our family to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s, and we began to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, especially Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. I went on to study classical art and archaeology in graduate school in England, Scotland, and Germany, and excavated in Greece, Italy, and North Africa. My own research ranges widely, from the Etruscans to sport and entertainment in the Roman empire (about which I made a film with the Smithsonian, Rome’s Chariot Superstar). I currently live in Chicago, where I teach at a university. 

Sinclair's book list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans

Sinclair Bell Why did Sinclair love this book?

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.

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…


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

Gin Stephens Author Of Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean

From my list on when you’re confused about what to eat.

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in diets ever since I watched my mom diet while I was growing up. For decades, I enthusiastically jumped on the diet roller coaster myself, and thus began my quest to find the “perfect” way to eat. Not one of these “diets” ever worked for me for long-term weight loss, however, and I became more and more confused about what I “should” be eating. Finally, I was able to lose over 80 pounds thanks to intermittent fasting, but I was still confused about what I should be eating. Once I figured out the when (intermittent fasting), the what followed, thanks to the work of these authors.

Gin's book list on when you’re confused about what to eat

Gin Stephens Why did Gin love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

Mary T. Newport Author Of Clearly Keto: For Healthy Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention

From my list on healthier aging of body and brain through diet and lifestyle changes (by a doctor).

Who am I?

At just fifty-four, my husband Steve was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. After practicing as a physician specializing in newborn intensive care for thirty years, I found myself at the opposite end of the spectrum, learning everything I could about Alzheimer’s. In 2008, Steve had a dramatic improvement in his symptoms lasting nearly four years from consuming ketogenic coconut oil and MCT oil, a low-carb whole food diet, and later a ketone ester developed at the NIH. I knew that if Steve improved many others would as well, and have been compelled to share this information by speaking and writing about ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain.

Mary's book list on healthier aging of body and brain through diet and lifestyle changes (by a doctor)

Mary T. Newport Why did Mary love this book?

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner is a fascinating look at populations around the world with high concentrations of centenarians, including detailed interviews with these very elderly people, to learn what factors might explain their longevity and good health—what they eat and how they go about their daily lives.

I found it interesting and inspirational to get such an intimate peek into the lives of individuals from different cultures who have lived much longer than most of us can hope for.

By Dan Buettner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A long, healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. Buettner has led teams of researchers across the globe--from Costa Rica to Sardinia, Italy, to Okinawa, Japan and beyond--to uncover the secrets of Blue Zones. He found that the recipe for longevity is deeply intertwined with community, lifestyle, and spirituality. People live longer and healthier by embracing a few simple but powerful habits, and by creating the right community around themselves. In The…


Book cover of A Farewell to Arms

Gioia Diliberto Author Of Coco at the Ritz

From my list on the complicated choices facing women in war.

Who am I?

As a writer of seven historically themed books, fiction and nonfiction, I’ve loved the intense, deep dive into World War I, World War II, the Civil War, and the Paris Commune that researching my books entailed. It’s been particularly fascinating to explore how women, whether on or near the front lines, or on the home front, negotiate life during war and how their behavior illuminates character. My protagonists are all women, and I’ve found that writing their lives offers a sharp opportunity to see the moral ambiguities of war. What’s more, their stories often transcend the personal to symbolize the spirit of a particular time and place at war.

Gioia's book list on the complicated choices facing women in war

Gioia Diliberto Why did Gioia love this book?

My favorite of Hemingway’s books, this great anti-war novel about a passionate love affair between a young, wounded soldier and the beautiful nurse who cares for him, never loses its power for me despite repeated readings.

I admire not only the book’s lyrical writing, exquisite observations and heartbreaking story, but also how the horror of what men are experiencing on the battlefield is mirrored in the tragedy of Catherine’s death in childbirth.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

4 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…


Book cover of Living in Italy: the Real Deal

Jaime Salazar Author Of Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

From my list on travel for military and adventure enthusiasts.

Who am I?

In today’s tech-obsessed world, social media may well be the perfect platform to showcase the world’s beauty to armchair travelers across the globe, but travel is so much more than just getting that perfect Instagram shot. Travel should be meaningful. It should excite and inspire you, rejuvenate and ground you, educate and challenge you, and most importantly, humble you. Travel gives us our most wondrous stories, our most cherished memories, and countless irreplaceable learnings that we can choose to pay forward to others. It teaches us about ourselves and each other, it broadens our horizons, and, just like a reset button, it forces us to refocus on what matters.

Jaime's book list on travel for military and adventure enthusiasts

Jaime Salazar Why did Jaime love this book?

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!

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…


Book cover of Behind Closed Doors: Her Father's House and Other Stories of Sicily

Jacqueline Alio Author Of Queens of Sicily 1061-1266

From my list on Sicilian women and their lives.

Who am I?

Very little has been written in English about Sicilian women. Most of the studies written in English about the women of southern Italy are the work of foreigners who discovered our region in adulthood. While some non-Italian colleagues have produced fine work, my books reflect the perspective of a scholar who, being Sicilian, has been familiar with the region and its people all her life. This is seen in my knowledge of the Sicilian language, from which I've translated texts, and even the medieval cuisine mentioned in my books. Viva la Sicilia!

Jacqueline's book list on Sicilian women and their lives

Jacqueline Alio Why did Jacqueline love this book?

These short stories about ordinary Sicilian women of the early years of the twentieth century bring us a gritty realism that may bring tears to your eyes.

Not only is this great literature, albeit in translation, but it also provides an insight into the history of Sicilian life and emigration. We usually read about this from the American point of view. Here, it is presented from an Italian perspective. In my opinion, it's useful and informative to read both.

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