100 books like The Flanders Panel

By Arturo Perez-Reverte, Margaret Jull Costa (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Flanders Panel fans have personally recommended if you like The Flanders Panel. 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 Girl with a Pearl Earring

Rebecca D'Harlingue Author Of The Map Colorist

From my list on 17th-century women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find the seventeenth century fascinating, and both of my novels are set in that period. The century was a time of great flux, and I am especially interested in exploring the kinds of things that women might have done, even though their accomplishments weren’t recorded. There is a wonderful article by novelist Rachel Kadish called “Writing the Lives of Forgotten Women,” in which she refers to Hilary Mantel’s comments that people whose lives are not recorded fall through the sieve of history. Kadish says that, “Lives have run through the sieve, but we can catch them with our hands.” These novels all attempt to do that.

Rebecca's book list on 17th-century women

Rebecca D'Harlingue Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book was a phenomenon when it came out, and with good reason.

Chevalier’s words paint a picture of the life of a young girl, Griet, who is working in the house of the artist, Johannes Vermeer in 1660s Delft. In the novel, Griet is the model for the famous painting. The relationship between artist and model, and what they do, and don’t, mean to each other, is complex and intriguing.

The way that Chevalier depicts the restrained interactions between the two seems to mimic Vermeer’s restrained yet visually detailed style.

By Tracy Chevalier,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Girl with a Pearl Earring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the Orchard

Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . .…


Book cover of The Art Forger

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

Art forgery has always fascinated me. The idea that you can create a 'new' work by an old master and then, maybe, get away with it. Claire is a struggling artist whose one chance at fame had been stolen by a lover. Reduced to painting reproductions of famous paintings for clients to hang in their home she is approached by an art dealer to secretly forge a Degas painting. The money is good enough to silence her scruples and when the painting arrives she immediately recognizes that it is one of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Already she is having doubts but after beginning her study of the painting she suspects that it, too, is a forgery. Forged art has never been so compelling.

By B.A. Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - still the largest unsolved art theft in history - one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece - the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years - may…


Book cover of As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

As Peter Bruegel stands in the Sistine Chapel admiring Michelangelo’s work he realizes he could never compete with one who works in the heavens – above. He will confine himself to the below the common man. We follow Bruegel and his friends on his journeys, his daily life, and the inspiration he finds in the everyday world around him. His peasants are peasants. Their daily toil is not romanticized. Their feasts consist of rural fare.  Even his religious art is not idealized. It is wonderful to imagine that the author has walked in Bruegel's shoes. Rudy Rucker is a professor of math and computer science but his extensive research has brought to life an artist who left very little of his own life to history.  

By Rudy Rucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Above, So Below as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Bruegel's paintings - a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others - have long defined our idea of everyday life in 16th Century Europe. In sixteen chapters Rucker brings Bruegel's painter's progress and his colourful world to vibrant life doing for Bruegel what GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING did for Vermeer. We follow the artist from the winding streets of Antwerp and Brussels to the glowing skies and decaying monuments of Rome.


Book cover of Beauty in Thorns

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

After the Impressionists and Vincent Van Gogh, the artists that come easily in third place for fictional ink spilled about them are the Pre-Raphaelites. Their personal lives are as colorful as their artwork. Australian Kate Forsyth has tackled the second phase of Pre-Raphaelitism led by Edward Burne-Jones's mythological and Arthurian paintings and William Morris's designs for furniture, wallpaper, and book art. The love lives of the artists, wives, models, and daughters find their way interwoven in the story of the art. Gabriel Rossetti, who was a major figure of the first phase of Pre-Raphaeltisim, is the flint that ignites the second phase. They all want to live in the dreams of the past, and of legends, but real life is never a fairy tale.

By Kate Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A spellbinding reimagining of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set amongst the wild bohemian circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists and poets.

The Pre-Raphaelites were determined to liberate art and love from the shackles of convention.

Ned Burne-Jones had never had a painting lesson and his family wanted him to be a parson. Only young Georgie Macdonald – the daughter of a Methodist minister – understood. She put aside her own dreams to support him, only to be confronted by many years of gossip and scandal.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was smitten with his favourite model, Lizzie Siddal. She wanted to be an artist herself, but…


Book cover of The Immortal Game: A History of Chess

Brin-Jonathan Butler Author Of The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match That Made Chess Great Again

From my list on the world of chess.

Why am I passionate about this?

We stumble onto games very early on in life and yet one game alone stood apart for me and hundreds of millions of other people over the centuries: chess. Across 1500 years of the games existence, chess has attracted players numbering in the billions regardless of language, culture, or creed, they were all unified in a passion for the irresistible allure of this remarkable game. In 2016, I was hired by Simon and Schuster to cover the world chess championship featuring arguably the greatest player ever to wield chess pieces, Magnus Carlsen. Fully immersing myself into the game during the researching and writing of the book, I collided with powerful themes.

Brin-Jonathan's book list on the world of chess

Brin-Jonathan Butler Why did Brin-Jonathan love this book?

The brilliance of Shenk’s book is that even someone who didn’t know the basic rules of chess would be enthralled by the backdrops of the game he introduces to the reader. Chess is played around the world by hundreds of millions of people and Shenk delves into the reasons why the game has such perversely addictive appeal. 

By David Shenk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fresh, engaging look at how 32 carved pieces on a Chess board forever changed our understanding of war, art, science, and the human brain.

Chess is the most enduring and universal game in history. Here, bestselling author David Shenk chronicles its intriguing saga, from ancient Persia to medieval Europe to the dens of Benjamin Franklin and Norman Schwarzkopf. Along the way, he examines a single legendary game that took place in London in 1851 between two masters of the time, and relays his own attempts to become as skilled as his Polish ancestor Samuel Rosenthal, a nineteenth-century champion. With…


Book cover of The Art of the Checkmate

Charles Hertan Author Of Forcing Chess Moves: The Key to Better Calculation

From my list on understanding and playing better chess enjoyably.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a nerdy kid growing up in New York in the 1970s, I got swept up in the “Fischer Boom” of 1972 when Bobby Fischer became the first official American World Champion, and chess clubs and tournaments sprouted up around the country. I persevered to become one of the top 30-ranked players. I’ve coached chess since my teens, with students ranging from ages 3 to 95. Not until my 40’s did I discover that I had perhaps an even greater talent and passion for writing. My first book Forcing Chess Moves presented a novel and challenging approach to how to think ahead in chess, and understand human biases which can blind us to winning ideas.

Charles' book list on understanding and playing better chess enjoyably

Charles Hertan Why did Charles love this book?

One thing that separates chess from all other games is the concept of checkmate. You’ve heard the word a million times, but what is it exactly? You’re probably thinking “Capturing the Enemy King”, but that would be incorrect. Actually it means threatening to capture the enemy King, while denying him any means of escape. I was already an experienced player when I read this book, but it was an “aha” moment. There are recurring checkmating patterns that are far from obvious to beginners; but once you learn to recognize them, you become a better player and enhance your appreciation for the beauty of chess.

By Georges Renaud, Victor Kahn, W. J. Taylor

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The art of the checkmate has at last been provided with a scientific foundation." — Chicago Sunday Tribune
One of the most difficult situations in chess is seeing potential mates in the near future. All players, even grandmasters and champions, have missed such mates in actual play, to their chagrin and the bystanders' delight, for all too often it is easier to play for momentary advantage than to force a mate.
This book by two former national chess champions of France provides a rational classification of mating situations, and shows how each possible type of mate has emerged with its…


Book cover of Pawn Power in Chess

Charles Hertan Author Of Forcing Chess Moves: The Key to Better Calculation

From my list on understanding and playing better chess enjoyably.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a nerdy kid growing up in New York in the 1970s, I got swept up in the “Fischer Boom” of 1972 when Bobby Fischer became the first official American World Champion, and chess clubs and tournaments sprouted up around the country. I persevered to become one of the top 30-ranked players. I’ve coached chess since my teens, with students ranging from ages 3 to 95. Not until my 40’s did I discover that I had perhaps an even greater talent and passion for writing. My first book Forcing Chess Moves presented a novel and challenging approach to how to think ahead in chess, and understand human biases which can blind us to winning ideas.

Charles' book list on understanding and playing better chess enjoyably

Charles Hertan Why did Charles love this book?

The legendary 18th-century chess champion Andre Danican Philidor called pawns “the soul of chess”. The Dutch master Hans Kmoch was the first to catalog all the nimble and fascinating tricks the humble pawn can do, and how the lowliest chess piece can work together with its neighbors to build a “structure” around which chess positions develop. Unlike computers, we humans need concepts to help us learn, and the ideas around pawn play I learned from this book have stuck with me for decades, helping me understand the correct strategy and tactics for different chess positions. 

By Hans Kmoch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"One of the few books…which, at a glance, one can recognize as an immortal." — Chess.
The proper use of pawns — of paramount importance in chess strategy — sometimes even puzzles experienced players. This profoundly original and stimulating book by an International Master and prolific chess writer offers superb instruction in pawn play by isolating its elements and elaborating on various aspects.
After a lucid exposition of the fundamentals and the basic formations of one or two pawns that virtually constitute the keys to winning chess strategy, the reader is shown a multitude of examples demonstrating the paramount significance…


Book cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Rebecca Hazell Author Of The Sweeper: A Buddhist Tale

From my list on to cheer you up and get you to look around.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in suburbia—or urban sprawl—with fairytales and children’s nonfiction series like Lands and Peoples. My passion for reading (and history and art museums) nurtured my sense of wonder and awe at the richness of the world. I was inspired to write nonfiction about heroic people by my own children, whose social studies education lacked dazzle and examples of heroism. I had already been creating educational materials for schools, but I wanted to inspire their wonder about and appreciation of the world. My kids are grown, but I’m still writing for young readers. An avid world traveler and historian, I've always aspired to bring other people, places, cultures, and times to life.

Rebecca's book list on to cheer you up and get you to look around

Rebecca Hazell Why did Rebecca love this book?

I have never tired of Alice’s outrageous, surreal romp through the world of imagination.

It transports me to the magical strangeness not only of Wonderland but also of this world. I love the way unlikely adventures can happen, how odd friendships can arise, how reality can shift just as fantasy does. It empowers my own imagination and channels it into creativity and wonder.

By Lewis Carroll,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel by English author Lewis Carroll (the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson). It tells of a young girl named Alice, who falls through a rabbit hole into a subterranean fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.

One of the best-known and most popular works of English-language fiction, its narrative, structure, characters and imagery have been enormously…


Book cover of Smyslov on the Couch

Matthew Sadler Author Of The Silicon Road To Chess Improvement: Chess Engine Training Methods, Opening Strategies & Middlegame Techniques

From my list on (in)famous chess players.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first saw a chessboard at the age of 7 and became a professional chess player at 16, achieving the grandmaster title after just 3 years. Many years later – and no longer a professional – that childhood love for a beautiful game still burns brightly. My particular passions are chess engines – which offer a glimpse into the chess of the future – and the lives and games of historical chess players. I’ve reviewed hundreds of books for New in Chess magazine and I particularly love books that challenge my understanding of chess and show me new facets to old knowledge. I hope you love these books too! 

Matthew's book list on (in)famous chess players

Matthew Sadler Why did Matthew love this book?

Genna Sosonko – a strong grandmaster in the 1970s and 1980s – knew the top players of his generation intimately and has written many brilliant portraits of these demon-riddled geniuses.

Sosonko’s portrayal of the last years of the 7th World Champion Smyslov – nicknamed “The Hand” for the peerless intuition that automatically placed pieces on the right squares – is a moving account of old age that brought tears to my eyes.

Smyslov’s later years were spent alone with his wife in a vast, rich house that, just like its occupants, inexorably decayed as – blinded by the fear that they might be cheated by housekeepers – they eschewed all help.

At the same time accusations surfaced of cheating during one of Smyslov’s greatest triumphs 50 years earlier. 

By Genna Sosonko,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his third full-length memoir about one of the world’s greatest ever chess players Genna Sosonko portrays a warm picture of the seventh world champion Vasily Smyslov, with whom he spent considerable time over the board, during tournaments and while meeting at each other’s homes. Smyslov the man was far more balanced and spiritual than most of his contemporaries, capable of a relaxed and yet principled approach to life. Unlike most top players he was able to reach a very high standard in his chosen hobby – in his case, classical singing – even while playing chess at the very…


Book cover of A History of the Crusades

Charles Hertan Author Of Forcing Chess Moves: The Key to Better Calculation

From my list on understanding and playing better chess enjoyably.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a nerdy kid growing up in New York in the 1970s, I got swept up in the “Fischer Boom” of 1972 when Bobby Fischer became the first official American World Champion, and chess clubs and tournaments sprouted up around the country. I persevered to become one of the top 30-ranked players. I’ve coached chess since my teens, with students ranging from ages 3 to 95. Not until my 40’s did I discover that I had perhaps an even greater talent and passion for writing. My first book Forcing Chess Moves presented a novel and challenging approach to how to think ahead in chess, and understand human biases which can blind us to winning ideas.

Charles' book list on understanding and playing better chess enjoyably

Charles Hertan Why did Charles love this book?

When I’m not writing or researching chess books, history books and biographies are about all I read these days. Not until college did I realize how amazing a well-written history book could be, telling a great story about how people actually lived in different times and cultures. After 9/11 I wanted to avoid the soundbites and actually understand the history of religious conflict. In my view a great history book must have amazing research and wonderful writing, as well as being fair and balanced, and this trilogy was one of the best I’ve ever read on all counts. It still blows my mind that an author can put together a compelling, accurate, day-to-day account of events that happened 1000 years ago. You have to read it to believe it.

By Steven Runciman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

History


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in chess, Madrid, and the Middle Ages?

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