10 books like Tastes of Paradise

By Wolfgang Schivelbusch,

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

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The Secret Lives of Color

By Kassia St. Clair,

Book cover of The Secret Lives of Color

I fell in love with this book the moment I picked up a copy in a book store. While it is not exactly about infographics, it tackles an aspect that is crucial to creating successful and arresting visualizations: color. This topic has a wide scientific dimension (think perception, think chemistry), but the notion of color is also intertwined with intense aesthetic experiences. Kassia St. Clair combines both with a trove of historical stories about scientists, artists, and other aficionados on the hunt for intricate shades such as Mummy or Chrome Yellow. A highly inspiring read, a beautiful book, and an excellent gift.

The Secret Lives of Color

By Kassia St. Clair,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of USA Today's "100 Books to Read While Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Crisis"

A dazzling gift, the unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-colored volume.

"Beautifully written . . . Full of anecdotes and fascinating research, this elegant compendium has all the answers." -NPR, Best Books of 2017

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to…


Counting

By Deborah Stone,

Book cover of Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters

I had never really given much thought to counting until I read this book, but in the very first chapter, Stone made me rethink everything I thought I knew about “one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.” She shows that every time we count, we’re making cultural assumptions. For example, what counts as a fish? And what makes the color of the fish more relevant than other features? Counting reveals that while these choices may seem intuitive, basic, and meaningless, they have very real impacts on people’s lives. Especially when we use numbers to measure things like merit, poverty, race, and productivity, those fundamental assumptions matter more than we care to admit.  

Counting

By Deborah Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Early in her extraordinary career, Deborah Stone wrote Policy Paradox, a landmark work on politics. Now, in Counting, she revolutionises how we approach numbers and shows how counting shapes the way we see the world. Most of us think of counting as a skill so basic that we see numbers as objective, indisputable facts. Not so, says Stone. In this playful-yet-probing work, Stone reveals the inescapable link between quantifying and classifying, and explains how counting determines almost every facet of our lives-from how we are evaluated at work to how our political opinions are polled to whether we get into…


The Essence of Style

By Joan DeJean,

Book cover of The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour

This is cultural history with a difference and of a difference. It teaches you a lot about the reputation for fashionable culture that France enjoyed for centuries all over the world and continues to enjoy to this day. How much of all that is already packed into the book’s subtitle! The rest of the book is just as accessible and lively and unwilling ever to take itself too seriously. 

The Essence of Style

By Joan DeJean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory? Why does a special occasion only become really special when a champagne cork pops? Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment? Writing with great elan, one of the foremost authorities on seventeenth-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style, and glamour that still rule our lives today. Joan DeJean takes us back…


The Devil's Cloth

By Michel Pastoureau, Jody Gladding,

Book cover of The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes

The French historian Michel Pastoureau is the master of finding topics you never knew could have a history. His research spans from the history of blue to the history of the bear, and everything he writes makes you see the world with new eyes. One of my favorites is this slim volume about the history of stripes. Pastoureau explains why stripes were associated with the devil in the Middle Ages, why sailors and swimmers took to stripes, and why cultural preferences have shifted from horizontal stripes to vertical stripes and back again. He convincingly shows that the history of the stripe is really a history of the impulse to contain social groups and people.

The Devil's Cloth

By Michel Pastoureau, Jody Gladding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To stripe a surface serves to distinguish it, to point it out, to oppose it or associate it with another surface, and thus to classify it, to keep an eye on it, to verify it, even to censor it.
Throughout the ages, the stripe has made its mark in mysterious ways. From prisoners' uniforms to tailored suits, a street sign to a set of sheets, Pablo Picasso to Saint Joseph, stripes have always made a bold statement. But the boundary that separates the good stripe from the bad is often blurred. Why, for instance, were stripes associated with the devil…


Sweetness and Power

By Sidney W. Mintz,

Book cover of Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History

Mintz’s book is about sugar, but it is still a key work in the history of coffee. It served as one of the major inspirations for my own study of the reception of coffee in early modern Britain. Sugar was a key ingredient in coffee by the later seventeenth century and would become a staple in the hot drinks consumed by the English working class. Mintz shows us how this symbiotic relationship between sugar and coffee developed, and he places the construction of an Atlantic slave system and the industrial revolution at the heart of his story. This is a classic work of both anthropology and history; it inspired a whole new way of thinking about the Atlantic world and the history of consumption at a time when both of those fields were still newborn. 

Sweetness and Power

By Sidney W. Mintz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fascinating persuasive history of how sugar has shaped the world, from European colonies to our modern diets

In this eye-opening study, Sidney Mintz shows how Europeans and Americans transformed sugar from a rare foreign luxury to a commonplace necessity of modern life, and how it changed the history of capitalism and industry. He discusses the production and consumption of sugar, and reveals how closely interwoven are sugar's origins as a "slave" crop grown in Europe's tropical colonies with is use first as an extravagant luxury for the aristocracy, then as a staple of the diet of the new industrial…


Alcoholic Republic

By William J. Rorabaugh,

Book cover of Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition

Rorabaugh argues convincingly that alcohol of several types—but mostly rum and whisky—were part and parcel of, and at times even drove, early national American culture. Solo and group binges increased from 1790 to 1820 as the population tried to adapt to anxious and uncertain changes in their lives. Drinking became aligned with liberty—taverns were the “seedbeds of the revolution” and the “nurseries of freedom.” And although boozing came to be an early element in what was defined as the American character, the temperance movement was not far off.

Alcoholic Republic

By William J. Rorabaugh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Recreating America's first fifty intemperate years, when, from 1790 to 1840, Americans drank more alcoholic beverages per capita than at any other time in history, Rorabaugh examines some of the reasons why Americans drank so much


The Drunken Botanist

By Amy Stewart,

Book cover of The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks

Quick, name a beverage that has not been derived from or flavored by a plant? Not surprisingly, only water and milk leap to mind. Bestselling author Stewart delves into the natural history and cultivation of scores of plant species with witty and authoritative accounts of how they have been used in coffee, tea, all manner of spirits, wine, and beer. Cocktail recipes are included throughout as well as invaluable cultural context. I loved the bit about sorghum-based baijiu which figured in Nixon’s famous China trip. – “Alexander Haig had sampled the beverage during an advance visit and cabled…’Under no repeat no circumstances should the President actually drink from his glass in response to the banquet toasts.’” 


Nixon drank it anyway. Impressive since Dan Rather said it tasted “like liquid razor blades.” 

The Drunken Botanist

By Amy Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This quirky guide explains the chemistry and botanical history of over 150 plants, trees, flowers and fruits, showing how they form the bases of our favourite cocktails. Amy Stewart offers gardeners growing tips and provides cocktail enthusiasts with 50 drink recipes, as well as a rounded knowledge of the processes and plants which go into popular concoctions.


Alcohol

By Rod Phillips,

Book cover of Alcohol: A History

Alcohol is a highly readable, and useful, text on the cultural and material history of alcohol from ancient times through the modern-day. Phillips uses an international and comparative frame here to good effect—something not usually done in histories of alcohol. I also greatly appreciated his focus on colonial, ethnic, and racial histories around alcohol, as well as its regulation in different societies. Phillips makes a compelling argument against the idea that most earlier societies turned to alcohol because the water wasn't safe to drink (some did, but the assumption is far too widespread, he argues).

Alcohol

By Rod Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whether as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a constant and often controversial role in social life. In his innovative book on the attitudes toward and consumption of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and economic history, uncovering the tensions between alcoholic drinks as healthy staples of daily diets and as objects of social, political, and religious anxiety. In the urban centers of Europe and America, where it was seen as healthier than untreated water, alcohol gained a foothold as the drink of choice, but it has been more regulated by governmental and religious authorities more than any…


Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South

By Joe Gray Taylor,

Book cover of Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South: An Informal History

My grandfather hunted squirrels to put in the stew pot, raised turnips and mustard greens, and shared all that he had with family and neighbors. Joe Gray Taylor’s book takes us back to the beginnings of the cuisine and hospitality of the American South where folks made the most of the natural environment and its riches. This book also describes the way people “visited” in the South, sometimes staying with relatives or friends for weeks or months on end, the hosts accepting them naturally, adding places at the table. Taylor covers Southern hospitality from the days of the frontier through the antebellum and Civil War years and Reconstruction, including the richest and the most impoverished populations, reminding me that I myself am just one generation removed from living off the land.

Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South

By Joe Gray Taylor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lively, informal history of over three centuries of southern hospitality and cuisine, Eating, Drinking, and Visiting in the South traces regional gastronomy from the sparse diet of Jamestown settlers, who learned from necessity to eat what the Indians ate, to the lavish corporate cocktail parties of the New South. Brimming with memorable detail, this book by Joe Gray Taylor ranges from the groaning plates of the great plantations, witnessed by Frederick Law Olmsted and a great many others, to the less-than-appetizing extreme guests often confronted in the South's nineteenth-century inns and taverns: ""execrable coffee, rancid butter, and very dubious…


Imbibe!

By David Wondrich,

Book cover of Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to "Professor" Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar

The sun was shining on the cocktail world the day that David Wondrich — a former English professor with a PhD in comparative literature — decided to step away from his existing vocation and turn his attention on drinks. He’s been hugely influential in the rise of the modern cocktail scene and is considered the foremost authority on the history of mixed drinks, shedding light on the origins of well-known, as well as esoteric libations. Imbibe is a fascinating read. Wondrich’s writing style is extremely engaging, you’ll fly through the book and still be left wanting more.

Imbibe!

By David Wondrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The newly updated edition of David Wondrich’s definitive guide to classic American cocktails.

Cocktail writer and historian David Wondrich presents the colorful, little-known history of classic American drinks--and the ultimate mixologist's guide--in this engaging homage to Jerry Thomas, father of the American bar.

Wondrich reveals never-before-published details and stories about this larger-than-life nineteenth-century figure, along with definitive recipes for more than 100 punches, cocktails, sours, fizzes, toddies, slings, and other essential drinks, along with detailed historical and mixological notes.
 
The first edition, published in 2007, won a James Beard Award. Now updated with newly discovered recipes and historical information, this…


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