100 books like Swann's Way

By Marcel Proust, CK Scott Moncrieff (translator),

Here are 100 books that Swann's Way fans have personally recommended if you like Swann's Way. 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 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

James Phelps Author Of Australia's Most Infamous Jail: Inside the walls of Pentridge Prison

From my list on getting any writer started in the industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about this book list because it helped me get where I am today, a multiple-times bestselling author and an award-winning senior reporter. I began working as an overnight police round reporter before moving into sports, where I became one of Australia's best news-breaking rugby league journalists. I was then appointed News Corp Australia's Chief National Motorsports Writer and traveled the world chasing Formula 1 story, as well as covering Australia's V8 Supercar races. Everyone has to start somewhere, and for me, this list of books helped me begin and continue to grow to reach the level of success that I have.

James' book list on getting any writer started in the industry

James Phelps Why did James love this book?

It’s 2005, and it’s my first day at The Daily Telegraph. I still couldn’t believe they had hired me as a cadet journalist. The smile I was wearing–from ear to ear–suddenly vanished when the Chief of Staff walked over and said, ‘Phelpsy, a bus has just crashed in Egypt. We have been told that there may have been some Australian tourists on board. Punch out 500 words and give it to me in an hour.’ 

I turned to my computer screen, looked down at my keyboard, and suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never had any writing training, and my experience was limited to the gibber I had been submitting to the paper (for free) for the past year in the hope of landing a job. After ten minutes of writing a word or two, deleting them, and then doing it again, I…

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked On Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King

ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP 100 NONFICTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the…


Book cover of Alfred Dreyfus:  L’Honneur d’un patriote

Maurice Samuels Author Of The Betrayal of the Duchess: The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern

From my list on Jews in modern France.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar of nineteenth-century French history and literature, I had always been fascinated by a paradox: France was the first modern European country to grant the Jews full civil rights (in 1790-91) but it was also the country where modern antisemitism first took shape. I’ve explored that paradox in a series of books, including most recently The Betrayal of the Duchess. Since 2011, I’ve also directed the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism. Many people don’t realize that France today has the third-largest population of Jews in the world, after Israel and the United States. And it continues to be ground-zero for antisemitic attacks. So studying this history is more important than ever.

Maurice's book list on Jews in modern France

Maurice Samuels Why did Maurice love this book?

This is the best history of the Dreyfus Affair and I wish it were available in English. Whereas most histories of the Affair cast Dreyfus as a hapless victim or as a patriotic automaton, who might not have even been a Dreyfusard had he not been Dreyfus, Duclert shows him to have been a true hero, whose super-human resolve and fortitude eventually allowed justice to prevail. Dreyfus emerges not as a martyr to antisemitism but as the first example of the resistance hero, the model for the struggle against authoritarianism and state terror in the twentieth century.

By Vincent Duclert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Des milliers de livres existent sur l'affaire à laquelle Alfred Dreyfus a donné son nom, mais nul n'a jamais écrit sa biographie. Curieuse, troublante lacune? Ne fallait-il pas montrer le rôle éminent que cette figure ignorée, déformée (quasi niée jusque chez une partie des dreyfusards), a joué dans le combat pour la vérité et la justice ? Certes Lazare, Zola, Péguy, Jaurès, Clemenceau et d'autres ont été nécessaires, mais sans le concours actif du principal intéressé (et de sa famille), y aurait-il eu seulement une affaire ? Un condamné qui se fût abandonné, qui eût capitulé devant la souffrance morale…


Book cover of The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France

Susan Blumberg-Kason Author Of Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong

From my list on rediscovered women's history with badass book covers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Susan Blumberg-Kason and I write books about strong women who have a strong sense of place. I think we are all partly defined by where we live and I enjoy examining how our environment informs our choices. My first book centers around someone I know very well—me! My memoir, Good Chinese Wife, takes place in my favorite city—Hong Kong—the place where I came of age and married for the first time, as well as China and a few cities in the US. I’m also a sucker for a good cover and I absolutely love my Good Chinese Wife cover!

Susan's book list on rediscovered women's history with badass book covers

Susan Blumberg-Kason Why did Susan love this book?

There’s so much texture on this cover, and the Renoir painting stands out because it’s probably the most recognizable part. The story involves Irene Cahen d’Anvers, the woman who sat for Renoir as a young girl, and how she came from a prominent Jewish family in France. Irene made some pivotal decisions that would forever change the lives of her ex-husband and daughter.

By James McAuley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A powerful history of Jewish art collectors in France, and how an embrace of art and beauty was met with hatred and destruction

"The depths of French anti-Semitism is the stunning subject that Mr. McAuley lays bare. . . . [He] tells this haunting saga in eloquent detail. As French anti-Semitism rises once again today, the effect is nothing less than chilling."-Diane Cole, Wall Street Journal

"Elegantly written and deeply moving. . . . [A] haunting book."-David Bell, New York Review of Books

In the dramatic years between 1870 and the end of World War II, a number of prominent…


Book cover of La Place de l’étoile

Maurice Samuels Author Of The Betrayal of the Duchess: The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern

From my list on Jews in modern France.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar of nineteenth-century French history and literature, I had always been fascinated by a paradox: France was the first modern European country to grant the Jews full civil rights (in 1790-91) but it was also the country where modern antisemitism first took shape. I’ve explored that paradox in a series of books, including most recently The Betrayal of the Duchess. Since 2011, I’ve also directed the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism. Many people don’t realize that France today has the third-largest population of Jews in the world, after Israel and the United States. And it continues to be ground-zero for antisemitic attacks. So studying this history is more important than ever.

Maurice's book list on Jews in modern France

Maurice Samuels Why did Maurice love this book?

This is the first novel by Modiano, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014.  It has been translated into English but with a French title, which contains a pun that can’t be translated (referring both to a location in Paris and to the infamous badge imposed by the Nazis). A darkly comic and shocking send-up of French antisemitic literature, the novel features a clownish protagonist named Raphaël Schlemilovitch who embraces every antisemitic stereotype imaginable, becoming in turn, a cosmopolitan, a traitor, a collaborator, and a pimp before winding up on the couch of Sigmund Freud begging to be put out of his misery.  Modiano wrote this novel to exorcise the demons of French literature and it helped him carve out a place as a distinctly Jewish voice in the French literary pantheon.

By Patrick Modiano, Frank Wynne (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked La Place de l’étoile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2014, which with The Night Watch and Ring Roads forms a trilogy of the Occupation 'A Marcel Proust of our time' Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy 'Modiano is the poet of the Occupation and a spokesman for the disappeared, and I am thrilled that the Swedish Academy has recognised him' Rupert Thomson, Guardian Modiano's debut novel is a sardonic, often grotesque satire of France during the Nazi occupation. We are immediately plunged into the hallucinatory imagination of Raphael Schlemilovitch, a young Jewish man, torn between…


Book cover of Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

Nora Zelevansky Author Of Competitive Grieving

From my list on to make you laugh and cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2017, I lost one of my best friends. He was one of those magical people—charismatic, impossibly talented, hilariously funny. So, in the aftermath of his death, I noticed many people in his life competing for recognition of their bond with him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there to recognize anyone. Though the stories are completely different, that experience inspired me to write Competitive Grieving, spotlighting the common—but rarely discussed—process of navigating someone’s life and relationships in their absence. For me, humor is the ultimate coping mechanism, as is the promise of brighter days, so the book attacks this serious topic with levity, honesty, and a bit of hope.

Nora's book list on to make you laugh and cry

Nora Zelevansky Why did Nora love this book?

Okay. Fine. Maybe I only think this book is about loss because I know that, in later books, the same Glass family suffers losses and this sets the stage. But this is a story about a promise that is never realized and a relationship that is becoming progressively distant—and, in it, there is a sense of being lost if not having experienced a loss, specifically. In it, Buddy Glass takes Army leave to attend his brother’s wedding, but his brother never shows up. Somehow, Buddy winds up stuck in a limo with a group of disgruntled guests from whom he tries to hide his identity. In his sense of isolation, but also his awareness of the situation’s absurdity, we find humor and also sadness.

By J.D. Salinger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Note from the Author: The two long pieces in this book originally came out in The New Yorker - RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM, CARPENTERS in 1955, SEYMOUR - An Introduction in 1959. Whatever their differences in mood or effect, they are both very much concerned with Seymour Glass, who is the main character in my series about the Glass family. Oddly, the joys and satisfactions of working on the Glass family peculiarly increase and deepen for me with the years. I can't say why, though. Not, at least, outside the casino proper of my fiction.

'The Glasses are…


Book cover of Death in the Afternoon

Carl Vigeland Author Of October Calf

From my list on learning to write.

Why am I passionate about this?

The author of more than a dozen books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper pieces, I taught writing for many years as a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. My passion for learning to write is lifelong, beginning in a musical childhood that led me from notes to words. A voracious reader, I set my ambition early-on to create stories that worked like the music I love, articulated most fully in recent books that take off from the many years I spent traveling with the iconic jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, with whom I also collaborated on Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life. My focus in both learning and doing is the intersection of memory and experience in a process that is ongoing in the intertwining of life and work.

Carl's book list on learning to write

Carl Vigeland Why did Carl love this book?

Officially a book about bullfighting, with so many digressions that they become the book, the finest such sections delve deeply into the art and practice of writing, most extraordinarily in the thrilling, moving final pages. It is also in this great book that for the first time in print Hemingway articulates his principle that you can leave something out of what you are writing if you know you are leaving it out.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ernest Hemingway's classic portrait of the pageantry of bullfighting.

'I was trying to learn to write, commencing with the simplest things, and one of the simplest things of all and the most fundamental is violent death'

This is Hemingway's classic portrait of the pageantry of bullfighting. Here are the sights, the sounds, the excitement, and above all, the knowledge, that fuelled Hemingway's passion for Spain and the bullfight. This remarkable book contains some of his finest writing, inspired by the intense life, as well as the inevitable death, of those hot, violent afternoons.

'Hemingway's style, at its best, is a…


Book cover of The Journal of Hélène Berr

Ruth Druart Author Of While Paris Slept

From my list on living with the enemy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became intrigued by the German occupation of Paris when I moved here in 1993. I began to imagine how the French citizens would have lived alongside the enemy; housing them, serving them, working for them, feeding them, and even entertaining them, while hiding what was really in their hearts. This duplicity fascinated me, and I read all the books I could on the subject. Living in Paris, I also had the opportunity to talk to French people who had lived through the occupation. Putting all the pieces together, I did my best to recreate the atmosphere in my two novels.

Ruth's book list on living with the enemy

Ruth Druart Why did Ruth love this book?

This is the diary of a 21-year-old Jewish woman living in Paris during the German Occupation. A student at the Sorbonne, we follow her as she writes a first-hand account of the ever-increasing hardships and terrors her and her family face. She writes candidly about her experiences, her thoughts and beliefs as she and her family go about their daily routines, while living in constant fear of being arrested. It is a touching, personal testimony about Paris during World War II. She was arrested on the one night her family decided to sleep in their own home. Tragically, she died only days before her camp was liberated by the British. Some poignant details in her diary stayed with me long after I finished reading, and I used some of them in my novel.

By Helene Berr, David Bellos (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Not since The Diary of Anne Frank has there been such a book as this: The joyful but ultimately heartbreaking journal of a young Jewish woman in occupied Paris, now being published for the first time, 63 years after her death in a Nazi concentration camp.

On April 7, 1942, Hélène Berr, a 21-year-old Jewish student of English literature at the Sorbonne, took up her pen and started to keep a journal, writing with verve and style about her everyday life in Paris — about her studies, her friends, her growing affection for the “boy with the grey eyes,” about…


Book cover of Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France

Yehuda Moraly Author Of Revolution in Paradise: Veiled Representations of Jewish Characters in the Cinema of Occupied France

From my list on French theater and film during German occupation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am teaching Theater studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among my courses, “The World of Theater in the Reflection of Cinema" was a notable one. My favorite film was Children of Paradise. However, I was taken aback when a friend questioned the film's alleged anti-Semitic elements. I scrutinized the character of the Old-Clothes Man, Josué, noticing his stereotypical Jewish traits. As my research went further, I discovered the original 1942 script, where Josué played a more significant role as an overt Jewish traitor, ultimately slain by the film's hero, Deburau. This revelation prompted extensive research in Paris and Jerusalem, uncovering veiled Jewish portrayals in other French films made during the German occupation.

Yehuda's book list on French theater and film during German occupation

Yehuda Moraly Why did Yehuda love this book?

I enthusiastically recommend Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France, a must-read for those intrigued by the complex interplay of literature, history, and cultural context.

This book provides an insightful exploration of the writings of four influential figures—Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Lacan, Jean Giraudoux, and Andre Gide—in the context of France's pre-World War II history of anti-Jewish thought. Mehlman's essays dive into a range of fascinating topics, from Blanchot's unique conception of literature to Lacan's distinctive style, Giraudoux's connection to Racine, and the intricacies of sexual politics in Gide's work.

I found Mehlman's insights into Giraudoux particularly enlightening. Especially his analysis of The Madwoman of Chaillot broadens our understanding of how historical context shapes literary works, offering invaluable perspectives on the intellectual history of contemporary France.

The banquiers that the Madwoman of Chaillot kills in the 1942 play are openly described as Jews in a 1938 Giraudoux’s text: Pleins Pouvoirs. Don't miss the…

By Jeffrey Mehlman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

These four essays-on Blanchot, Lacan, Giraudoux, and Gide-have as their focus the barely imaginable coherence which the writings of four major contemporaries take on when read in the light of France's pre-World War II heritage of anti-Jewish thought. As the essays delve into such crucial topics as the inaugural silence in Blanchot's sense of literature, the "style" of Lacan, Giraudoux's relation to Racine, and the…


Book cover of The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Nancy McConnell Author Of Into the Lion's Mouth

From my list on kids who love a medieval quest.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I could start writing Into the Lion’s Mouth, I spent a lot of time researching the medieval and renaissance Venice. I was astounded to see how relevant that history is to today. Not only are there many parallels that can be drawn between the past and today there is so much to learn about the consistency of human nature. I find myself currently gravitating towards books that mix history and fiction and these are some of my favorites.

Nancy's book list on kids who love a medieval quest

Nancy McConnell Why did Nancy love this book?

A warm inn, and a stranger’s tale gather together a group of travelers as they become fascinated by the story of three gifted children that is sweeping the land. I loved the way this book brought the story of the people in the inn and the marvelous children together step by step. Peppered with real historical figures and legends this book is a must-read for the middle-grade medieval enthusiast. 

By Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Inquisitor's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award

An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Hatem Aly!

A New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Editor's Choice A New York Times Notable Children's Book A People Magazine Kid Pick A Washington Post Best Children's Book A Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book A Booklist Best Book A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book A Kirkus Reviews Best Book A Publishers Weekly Best Book A School Library Journal…


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Interested in France, Jewish history, and antisemitism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, Jewish history, and antisemitism.

France Explore 892 books about France
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Antisemitism Explore 46 books about antisemitism