100 books like The Future of Nostalgia

By Svetlana Boym,

Here are 100 books that The Future of Nostalgia fans have personally recommended if you like The Future of Nostalgia. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Kafka: I Am a Memory Come Alive: Autobiographical Writings

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Author Of The Memoirs of Nahum N. Glatzer

From my list on anthology that bring sources to light.

Who am I?

I am an art historian and was professor of art history at MIT, Tufts, Harvard, and elsewhere. As an undergraduate I studied Jewish history and philosophy and subsequently was assistant editor at Schocken Books focusing on art history and history of ideas. My graduate work was in art history, first in medieval manuscripts and then 19th century French art. I’ve written four books, edited four others, and made 30 documentaries, mostly on art. The French government knighted me “Chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres.”

Judith's book list on anthology that bring sources to light

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Why did Judith love this book?

This book, unique in its construction, gave me a deeper insight into this leading author of the 20th century. We all know and may use the term “Kafkaesque” we don’t necessarily know from whence the term and its experience comes. This biography, drawing from Kafka’s own writings, documents his life in his own words. Glatzer has masterfully edited excerpts from the writer’s diaries, letters, and published works to create an autobiography that Kafka “contemplated but never wrote.” Kafka’s world view, the Kafkaesque, is vividly evoked.

By Franz Kafka, Nahum N.Glatzer (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Franz Kafka, Nahum N Glatzer


Book cover of Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Author Of The Memoirs of Nahum N. Glatzer

From my list on anthology that bring sources to light.

Who am I?

I am an art historian and was professor of art history at MIT, Tufts, Harvard, and elsewhere. As an undergraduate I studied Jewish history and philosophy and subsequently was assistant editor at Schocken Books focusing on art history and history of ideas. My graduate work was in art history, first in medieval manuscripts and then 19th century French art. I’ve written four books, edited four others, and made 30 documentaries, mostly on art. The French government knighted me “Chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres.”

Judith's book list on anthology that bring sources to light

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Why did Judith love this book?

This remarkable biography has been hugely important to me in the understanding of the great German writer and critic Walter Benjamin. His essays, particularly on the 19th century Arcades, were the basis of my study, "A Human Comedy, Physiognomy and Caricature in 19th century Paris". Eiland and Jennings biography, based on enormous research, introduce us to this complex and enigmatic character and his brilliant criticism.

They provide a revealing portrait of his brief life in the shadow of European catastrophe. Their consummate understanding of Benjamin’s complex layered work gives new insight into this highly influential thinker. A scholarly work of the first order, written with wisdom and  compassion.

By Howard Eiland, Michael W. Jennings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Walter Benjamin is one of the twentieth century's most important intellectuals, and also one of its most elusive. His writings-mosaics incorporating philosophy, literary criticism, Marxist analysis, and a syncretistic theology-defy simple categorization. And his mobile, often improvised existence has proven irresistible to mythologizers. His writing career moved from the brilliant esotericism of his early writings through his emergence as a central voice in Weimar culture and on to the exile years, with its pioneering studies of modern media and the rise of urban commodity capitalism in Paris. That career was played out amid some of the most catastrophic decades of…


Book cover of Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Author Of The Memoirs of Nahum N. Glatzer

From my list on anthology that bring sources to light.

Who am I?

I am an art historian and was professor of art history at MIT, Tufts, Harvard, and elsewhere. As an undergraduate I studied Jewish history and philosophy and subsequently was assistant editor at Schocken Books focusing on art history and history of ideas. My graduate work was in art history, first in medieval manuscripts and then 19th century French art. I’ve written four books, edited four others, and made 30 documentaries, mostly on art. The French government knighted me “Chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres.”

Judith's book list on anthology that bring sources to light

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Why did Judith love this book?

Paul Mendes-Flohr is a great scholar of modern German Jewish philosophy. A man of extraordinary erudition and humanity, I am always moved by his deeply insightful books. His work means very much to me.

This is a superb biography of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, conveying the range of his thought in the context of his life and times. Mendes-Flohr captures the complexities of this influential thinker, who many know for his revolutionary concept of “I and Thou” in religion and human relations.

By Paul Mendes-Flohr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the prizewinning Jewish Lives series, the first major biography in English in over thirty years of the seminal modern Jewish thinker Martin Buber

"A scrupulously researched, perceptive biography."-Robert Alter, New York Times Book Review

An authority on the twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965), Paul Mendes-Flohr offers the first major biography in English in thirty years of this seminal modern Jewish thinker. The book is organized around several key moments, such as his sudden abandonment by his mother when he was a child of three, a foundational trauma that, Mendes-Flohr shows, left an enduring mark on Buber's inner life, attuning…


Book cover of Dimensions of Job: A Study and Selected Readings

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Author Of The Memoirs of Nahum N. Glatzer

From my list on anthology that bring sources to light.

Who am I?

I am an art historian and was professor of art history at MIT, Tufts, Harvard, and elsewhere. As an undergraduate I studied Jewish history and philosophy and subsequently was assistant editor at Schocken Books focusing on art history and history of ideas. My graduate work was in art history, first in medieval manuscripts and then 19th century French art. I’ve written four books, edited four others, and made 30 documentaries, mostly on art. The French government knighted me “Chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres.”

Judith's book list on anthology that bring sources to light

Judith Glatzer Wechsler Why did Judith love this book?

In this time of violence and rise of racism, authoritarianism, the Holocaust, the question of evil, its sources, its manifestations matter to me, and anyone of conscious. Glatzer lived through the rise of Nazism and Communism, and, as a person of religious faith, had to contend with the question of evil in our world today, and its challenges to religious belief. This book grew out of a course Prof. Glatzer taught over the years to thousands of students.

Job and the problem of evil was a central concern for Glatzer, as a scholar and as a humanist. In this book he compiles modern commentaries on the theme of Job, from Judaic, Christian and general philosophical tradition, including Kierkegaard and Martin Buber. In his lengthy introduction, Glatzer traces the interpretations from the Church Fathers, the medieval rabbis, and classical philosophers. 

By Nahum N. Glatzer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The contributors are: Leo Baeck, Martin Buber, Yehezkel Kaufmann, Leon Roth, Robert Gordis, Margarete Susman, Hans Ehrenberg, Jean Danielou, Ernest Renan, H. H. Rowley, Leonard Ragaz, Robert Lowth, J. G. Herder, Josiah Royce, Horace M. Kallen, Paul Weiss, Gilbert Murray, Arthur S. Peake, Emil G. Kraeling, W. O. E. Oesterley, T. H. Robinson, Hayim Greenberg, Rudolph Otto, G. K. Chesterton, Walter Kaufmann, H. Wheeler Robinson, James B. Conant, G. W. F. Hegel, Soren Kierkegaard, Seton Pollock, William Barrett, Marvin H. Pope, Archibald MacLeish.


Book cover of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity

Sonia A. Hirt Author Of Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation

From my list on time, space, and modern urbanism.

Who am I?

I love cities and I teach about them. I was born in the capital of Sofia, Bulgaria, and landed in the US (mostly by chance) in 1993. Spent most of my professional life in US academia (Michigan, Virginia Tech, Harvard, Maryland, and now Georgia). I never stopped wondering how cities change and why American cities look and function so differently than European cities. So, I wrote a few books about cities, including Iron Curtains; Gates, Suburbs and Privatization of Space, which is about changes in East European Cities after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Sonia's book list on time, space, and modern urbanism

Sonia A. Hirt Why did Sonia love this book?

A modern classic! A fascinating analysis of arts, culture, literature, and social and urban change. A breathtaking read of Goethe’s Faust to Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground and a sharp analysis of what Hausmann’s Parisian boulevards have to do with the prospects of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg and the highways of mid-century New York. Fantastic chapters on Karl Marx (from whom the title of the book is borrowed) and Charles Baudelaire. Written with poetic perfection!

By Marshall Berman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked All That Is Solid Melts Into Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A bubbling caldron of ideas . . . Enlightening and valuable." Mervyn Jones, New Statesman.

The political and social revolutions of the nineteenth century, the pivotal writings of Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, and others, and the creation of new environments to replace the old all have thrust us into a modern world of contradictions and ambiguities. In this fascinating book, Marshall Berman examines the clash of classes, histories, and cultures, and ponders our prospects for coming to terms with the relationship between a liberating social and philosophical idealism and a complex, bureaucratic materialism.

From a reinterpretation of Karl Marx to an…


Book cover of Wealth Explosion: The Nature and Origins of Modernity

Johan Norberg Author Of Open: The Story of Human Progress

From my list on to make you grateful you live today.

Who am I?

I did not use to believe in human progress, but thought there must have been good old days behind us – until I studied history and understood that my ancestors did not live ecologically, they died ecologically, at an early age. Since then I’ve been obsessed with progress, what makes it possible and how we can spread it to more people. I am a historian of ideas from Sweden, the host of a video series on innovations in history, New and Improved, and the writer of many books on intellectual history and global economics, translated into more than 25 languages.

Johan's book list on to make you grateful you live today

Johan Norberg Why did Johan love this book?

The great fact of economic history is that we all used to be poor, and now most of us are not. 200 years ago, almost 90 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, today around 9 percent does. This is the story of that remarkable transformation and what made it possible. Of course, there are many good books on this, and I have greatly enjoyed for example Joel Mokyr, Deirdre McCloskey, and David Landes, but this is a powerful, short book by a great historian, that manages to weave together economic, political, technological and intellectual factors into a very compelling narrative of progress and its preconditions over the past one thousand years.

By Stephen Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How did the modern dynamist economy of wealth and opportunity come about? This major new analytical work emphasizes the often surprising, fundamental and continuing processes of innovation and transformation which has produced the world we live in now. / Today we live in a social and economic world that is fundamentally different from the one inhabited by our ancestors. The difference between the experience of people living today and that of all of our ancestors back to the advent of agriculture is as great as that between them and their hunter-gatherer forebears. The processes of transformational changes could have started…


Book cover of K-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher from 2004 - 2016

Nick Prior Author Of Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society

From my list on popular music, technology, and society.

Who am I?

I’m a Professor of Cultural Sociology at Edinburgh, UK, and have written extensively on contemporary culture and particularly technological mediations of popular music. I have undertaken empirical research on cultures of popular music in places like Iceland, Japan, and the UK, and I have supervised around 25 doctoral students to successful completion. My work is widely cited in the field of cultural sociology, and I am regularly interviewed by national broadcasters and the press. I’m also an amateur musician, making homespun electronic music in my bedroom and releasing it under the monikers Sponge Monkeys and Triviax.

Nick's book list on popular music, technology, and society

Nick Prior Why did Nick love this book?

This is a collection of essays by Fisher that originally comprised his K-Punk blog and that I return to again and again.

Fisher has a unique voice, a kind of critical conscience for the times that navigates the complexities of what he called "capitalist realism" through the lens of popular culture. These essays are the reason I got into bands on the Ghost Box label, like Pye Corner Audio, The Advisory Circle, and Belbury Poly. They speak to a loss of promised futures in a political context that has increasingly emptied out hope.

I find Fisher’s diagnosis of the culture of late capitalism to be the most compelling out there. His critique of “retro” bands like The Arctic Monkeys is scathing, while his writings on “hauntological” culture are ground-breaking. I’m a big fan of Burial, and Fisher’s reflections on the post-rave come-down are spot on.

Be warned: the collection can…

By Mark Fisher, Darren Ambrose (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Edited by Darren Ambrose and with a foreword by Simon Reynolds, this comprehensive collection brings together the work of acclaimed blogger, writer, political activist and lecturer Mark Fisher (aka k-punk). Covering the period 2004 - 2016, the collection will include some of the best writings from his seminal blog k-punk; a selection of his brilliantly insightful film, television and music reviews; his key writings on politics, activism, precarity, hauntology, mental health and popular modernism for numerous websites and magazines; his final unfinished introduction to his planned work on "Acid Communism"; and a number of important interviews from the last decade.


Book cover of The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures

Richard Wolin Author Of Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology

From my list on intellectuals and fascism.

Who am I?

As a graduate student during the late 1970s, my mentor, Martin Jay, generously introduced me to two members of the Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse and Leo Lowenthal. These memorable personal encounters inspired me to write a dissertation on Walter Benjamin, who was closely allied with the Frankfurt School. The completed dissertation, Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption, became the first book on Benjamin in English and is still in print. The Frankfurt School thinkers published a series of pioneering socio-psychological treatises on political authoritarianism: The Authoritarian Personality, Prophets of Deceit, and One-Dimensional Man. These studies continue to provide an indispensable conceptual framework for understanding the contemporary reemergence of fascist political forms.

Richard's book list on intellectuals and fascism

Richard Wolin Why did Richard love this book?

During the early 1990s, I had the good fortune to participate in Habermas’ legendary Monday night philosophy colloquium at the University of Frankfurt.

The experience transformed my understanding of the raison d’être of Critical Theory. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity is not a book about fascism per se. Instead, it tells the story of how, after the war, the titans of interwar German Kulturpessimismus – Nietzsche (albeit, posthumously), Carl Schmitt, and Heidegger – were canonized by the leading advocates of “French Theory” as the new maîtres à penser or “master thinkers.”

Yet, the canonization of German philosophy came at a high cost. After all, historically speaking, the philosophies in question stood in close proximity to fascist ideology.

Hence, the question arises: to what extent did such pro-fascist “ideologemes” infiltrate and inform the basic tenets of French poststructuralism?

By Jurgen Habermas, Frederick G. Lawrence (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This critique of French philosophy and the history of German philosophy is a tour de force that has the immediacy and accessibility of the lecture form and the excitement of an encounter across national cultural boundaries as Habermas takes up the challenge posed by the radical critique of reason in contemporary French postmodernism.

The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity is a tour de force that has the immediacy and accessibility of the lecture form and the excitement of an encounter across, national cultural boundaries. Habermas takes up the challenge posed by the radical critique of reason in contemporary French poststructuralism. Tracing…


Book cover of A Brief History of the Human Race

John Robert McNeill Author Of The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History

From my list on world history from the Paleolithic to the present.

Who am I?

I’m a historian who wants to understand the big picture as best I can. And while occasionally I can clear my schedule enough to read a 1,000pp book, realistically that won’t happen often so I am always on the alert for short books that aim to provide what I am looking for: a coherent vision of the whole of human history. That’s asking a lot of an author, but these five do it well.

John's book list on world history from the Paleolithic to the present

John Robert McNeill Why did John love this book?

This one is 359 pages and says almost nothing about the 20th century. It is quirky in terms of what it includes and what it leaves out, but reliable in its facts and judgments, and full of insights I haven’t encountered elsewhere. It does not bother with grand theories or overarching narrative, but focuses on what the author finds interesting. Cook is a specialist on the history of Islam, which gives the book an uncommon vantage point. 

By Michael Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why has human history been crowded into the last few thousand years? Why has it happened at all? Could it have happened in a radically different way? What should we make of the disproportionate role of the West in shaping the world we currently live in? This witty, intelligent hopscotch through human history addresses these questions and more. Michael Cook sifts the human career on earth for the most telling nuggets and then uses them to elucidate the whole. From the calendars of Mesoamerica and the temple courtesans of medieval India to the intricacies of marriage among an aboriginal Australian…


Book cover of The Shortcut: Why Intelligent Machines Do Not Think Like Us

Simon J.D. Prince Author Of Understanding Deep Learning

From my list on machine learning and deep neural networks.

Who am I?

I started my career in neuroscience. I wanted to understand brains. That is still proving difficult, and somewhere along the way, I realized my real motivation was to build things, and I wound up working in AI. I love the elegance of mathematical models of the world. Even the simplest machine learning model has complex implications, and exploring them is a joy.

Simon's book list on machine learning and deep neural networks

Simon J.D. Prince Why did Simon love this book?

This is a popular science book, so a little different from the others on this list. It is a beautifully written book that is accessible to people who don’t know much about AI but is simultaneously thought-provoking for experts.

It contains probably the best discussion of "intelligence" that I've read, interesting insights into how Google and other tech giants came to develop their machine learning strategy, and a fascinating chapter that views recommendation engines and their users as parts of a single intelligent organism. It's concise and easy to read.

I've read many popular AI books, which are highly variable in quality, and this criminally underappreciated work is the best by miles. 

By Nello Cristianini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

- The author is one of the most influential AI reseachers of recent decades.

- Written in an accessible language, the book provides a probing account of AI today and proposes a new narrative to connect and make sense of events that happened in the recent tumultuous past and enable us to think soberly about the road ahead.

- The book is divided into ten carefully crafted and easily-digestible chapters, each grapples with an important question for AI, ranging from the scientific concepts that underpin the technology to wider implications for society, using real examples wherever possible.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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