100 books like The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

By David Sider,

Here are 100 books that The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum fans have personally recommended if you like The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Art of Happiness

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

Epicurus wrote a series of letters summarizing his philosophy and we also have a couple of sets of short aphorisms that report key ideas. All of these are translated in this volume, along with the ancient biography of Epicurus and a substantial introduction. For any one keen to learn more about Epicureanism, the first thing to reader are his letters, especially the Letter to Menoeceus and the Letter to Herodotus.

By Epicurus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The teachings of Epicurus-about life and death, religion and science, physical sensation, happiness, morality, and friendship-attracted legions of adherents throughout the ancient Mediterranean world and deeply influenced later European thought. Though Epicurus faced hostile opposition for centuries after his death, he counts among his many admirers Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, and Isaac Newton. This volume includes all of his extant writings-his letters, doctrines, and Vatican sayings-alongside parallel passages from the greatest exponent of his philosophy, Lucretius, extracts from Diogenes Laertius' Life of Epicurus, a lucid introductory essay about Epicurean philosophy, and a foreword by Daniel Klein, author of…


Book cover of On the Nature of Things

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

Lucretius’ poem De rerum natura is the longest ancient work we have outlining Epicurean ideas. It’s also a masterpiece in its own right, covering everything from the origins of the cosmos, the rise and fall of civilizations, and the development of human culture to the nature of sensation and how to think about death. There are numerous translations out there; this one is a reliable translation into prose that has the original Latin verse on the facing page, along with helpful notes.

By Lucretius, Martin F. Smith (translator), W.H.D. Rouse (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Nature of Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) lived ca. 99 ca. 55 BCE, but the details of his career are unknown. He is the author of the great didactic poem in hexameters, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). In six books compounded of solid reasoning, brilliant imagination, and noble poetry, he expounds the scientific theories of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, with the aim of dispelling fear of the gods and fear of death and so enabling man to attain peace of mind and happiness.

In Book 1 he establishes the general principles of the atomic system, refutes the views of rival…


Book cover of Epicureanism: A Very Short Introduction

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

Wilson’s Very Short Introduction is a great overview of the central themes in Epicurean philosophy. If you want to learn more about Epicurean atomism, knowledge, the nature of the mind, politics, and ethics, then this book will give you a solid foundation and references to further academic reading.

By Catherine Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Epicureanism is commonly associated with a carefree view of life and the pursuit of pleasures, particularly the pleasures of the table. However it was a complex and distinctive system of philosophy that emphasized simplicity and moderation, and considered nature to consist of atoms and the void. Epicureanism is a school of thought whose legacy continues to reverberate today.

In this Very Short Introduction, Catherine Wilson explains the key ideas of the School, comparing them with those of the rival Stoics and with Kantian ethics, and tracing their influence on the development of scientific and political thought from Locke, Newton, and…


Book cover of How to Be Content: An Ancient Poet's Guide for an Age of Excess

John Sellars Author Of The Pocket Epicurean

From my list on Epicureanism and its teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Sellars is a Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of multiple books on ancient philosophy, including Hellenistic Philosophy. He is also a founding member of Modern Stoicism and The Aurelius Foundation, both non-profit companies devoted to bringing Stoicism to a wider audience and showing how it can benefit people today.

John's book list on Epicureanism and its teachings

John Sellars Why did John love this book?

The Roman poet Horace was influenced by Epicurean ideas and they often feature in his work. This book forms a nice introduction to Horace and his works, with carefully chosen selections in both English and the original Latin. Horace might not be the first place that someone curious about Epicureanism would look, but he’s well worth reading, both in his own right and as a Epicurean author. 

By Stephen Harrison, Horace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Be Content as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What the Roman poet Horace can teach us about how to live a life of contentment

What are the secrets to a contented life? One of Rome's greatest and most influential poets, Horace (65-8 BCE) has been cherished by readers for more than two thousand years not only for his wit, style, and reflections on Roman society, but also for his wisdom about how to live a good life-above all else, a life of contentment in a world of materialistic excess and personal pressures. In How to Be Content, Stephen Harrison, a leading authority on the poet, provides fresh, contemporary…


Book cover of The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

Peter Elbling Author Of The Food Taster

From my list on the brilliance of the Italian Renaissance.

Why am I passionate about this?

Folk-singing was my first vocation, but I made a sudden left turn into comedy, becoming one-half of The Times Square Two. After a few years touring the world, I settled in Hollywood and became an actor, writer, and director. I was inspired to write The Food Taster by the maître d’ of a famous restaurant in Los Angeles. When I complained that my meal had made me ill, he smiled and said I should get myself a food taster.

Peter's book list on the brilliance of the Italian Renaissance

Peter Elbling Why did Peter love this book?

Burckhardt’s encyclopedia became my bible. Whatever I needed to know about the clothing, or the buildings, or the politics—or anything else about that period, I only had to open Burckhardt’s book, and it was all there for me. The information was easy to find and eminently readable; and while I am hardly a scholar of the Renaissance, after devouring his book a thousand times I believe I can now call myself an honorable student.

By Jacob Burckhardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, the Italian Renaissance was nothing less than the beginning of the modern world - a world in which flourishing individualism and the competition for fame radically transformed science, the arts, and politics. In this landmark work he depicts the Italian city-states of Florence, Venice and Rome as providing the seeds of a new form of society, and traces the rise of the creative individual, from Dante to Michelangelo. A fascinating description of an era of cultural transition, this nineteenth-century masterpiece was to become the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance, and anticipated ideas…


Book cover of Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

I am apt to come back to the kitchen from the garden or the farmers’ market with a large bag of irresistible vegetables that I have no idea what I’m going to do with. More often than not I turn to Viana La Place’s book for a simple and satisfying recipe that uses Italian ingredients with a touch of California thrown in.

By Viana LA Place,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fresh ingredients and ease of preparation characterize the recipes for every course of Italian food, from the antipasta to pasta and risotto, from soups and stews to sandwiches, and from main dishes to salads. With recipes for bruschetta topped with roasted tomatoes and country stews fragrant with saffron and rosemary, to tantalizing puddings, this book covers the full range of Italian cookery.


Book cover of The Merchant of Venice

Cyril Demaria Author Of Introduction to Private Equity, Debt and Real Assets: From Venture Capital to LBO, Senior to Distressed Debt, Immaterial to Fixed Assets

From my list on private equity in practice and peek behind the scenes.

Why am I passionate about this?

The financing of private firms is fascinating and a bit mysterious. It remains misunderstood and regularly gives birth to hype and excesses. I started my career working for a venture capital fund at the top of the Internet financial bubble, in 2000. This experience has imprinted my career and derailed my ambitions. It also fueled my thirst for knowledge. I started from essentially a virgin theoretical and academic land. I developed a body of practical and academic knowledge. Writing and publishing my books seemed to be the next logical step. I enjoy reading books on the sector and recommending them.

Cyril's book list on private equity in practice and peek behind the scenes

Cyril Demaria Why did Cyril love this book?

It might seem odd, but there is no real better book than this one to illustrate the challenges of private equity. I use it as an example in my training sessions regularly.

The Merchant of Venice is not only one of the best plays on finance and ethics, but also the perfect illustration of the challenges of start-up investing before it became a profession. This play illustrates how venture financing differs in practice from bank financing. It also conveys the uncertainties associated with entrepreneurship, and how some capital providers are not able to take such a risk.

Shakespeare masters the art of contrasting the perspectives of an entrepreneur and a banker in a short and powerful format. It is a masterpiece and a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the philosophy of start-up investing. 

By William Shakespeare,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Merchant of Venice, the path to marriage is hazardous. To win Portia, Bassanio must pass a test prescribed by her father’s will, choosing correctly among three caskets or chests. If he fails, he may never marry at all.

Bassanio and Portia also face a magnificent villain, the moneylender Shylock. In creating Shylock, Shakespeare seems to have shared in a widespread prejudice against Jews. Shylock would have been regarded as a villain because he was a Jew. Yet he gives such powerful expression to his alienation due to the hatred around him that, in many productions, he emerges as…


Book cover of Inkheart

Jacey K. Dew Author Of Three Souls

From my list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was consistently described as one who had her head in the clouds. I was far away imagining all sorts of fantastical things; dragons soaring in the sky, a witch blasting a fireball in the grocery store, a werewolf coming to eat the gym teacher, the coffee barista is actually a vampire, etc. There is something alluring about supernatural beings existing in our often mundane world; whether they are being subjected to the same life we are or are wreaking havoc for any reason.

Jacey's book list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds

Jacey K. Dew Why did Jacey love this book?

A book about books.

Who hasn’t imagined the books they read coming to life in their living room or being able to dive into the fictional world? A father and daughter have a magical ability to do just that.

Unfortunately, the villain of one story was released and this sets them off on an adventure typically only available in books.

Meggie and Mo are an endearing father/daughter team while they navigate the consequences and reaches of their magic.

By Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Inkheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The first book in Cornelia Funke's internationally celebrated
trilogy - magical, thrilling and mesmerising.

'I
don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the
joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading' Diana Wynne Jones

Meggie
loves books. So does her father, Mo, a bookbinder,
although he has never read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously
disappeared. They live quietly until the night a stranger
knocks at their door. He has come with a warning that forces
Mo to reveal an extraordinary secret - a storytelling secret that
will change their lives for ever.

Also a major film starring…


Book cover of Whereabouts

Kate Cayley Author Of How You Were Born

From my list on short stories that make domestic life seem weird.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written two short story collections and am working on a third. I have been passionate about short stories for as long as I have been a reader, and continue to find the form extraordinary. Alice Munro famously defined a short story as a house you can step inside rather than a journey you undertake. I feel that a short story is a respectful invitation to the reader to visit briefly and enjoy a small interlude on the way to wherever they are going. 

Kate's book list on short stories that make domestic life seem weird

Kate Cayley Why did Kate love this book?

She’s best known for her novel The Namesake, which was made into a film, and her first collection, The Interpreter of Maladies. They’re good. Read this one. As a side note, she also moved from the US to Italy, learned Italian, and began publishing in Italian. Her work has now been translated from Italian and back to English. This is, itself, astonishing. As is this book.

Again, this is technically a novel but reads, daringly, as short fiction. A woman, middle-aged, single, and childless, goes about her days in a large Italian city. She shops for groceries, chats with friends, thinks about her childhood, and thinks about aging. Each section is short, unadorned, perfect. You won’t believe how perfect. I love this book also because it’s so obviously “domestic fiction,” concerned with private life, with tiny moments of transition, but puts a solitary woman at the center. It is…

By Jhumpa Lahiri,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father's untimely death. In addition to colleagues…


Book cover of A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism

Christina Lynch Author Of The Italian Party

From my list on women in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Doing the research for The Italian Party meant submerging myself in the Cold War Italy of the 1950s. But I found I couldn't understand that period without a better understanding of World War II and Italian Fascism. Cue an avalanche of books from which this list is culled, and the new novel I have just finished. I am drawn to first-hand accounts of women’s lives in wartime because I wonder how I would react and survive such challenges. Recent events in Europe have revived the nightmare of life under an occupying army. These stories are back at my bedside right now because I need their humor and wisdom.

Christina's book list on women in wartime

Christina Lynch Why did Christina love this book?

I could have broken the rules and just listed five books by Caroline Moorehead here. I love her writing; her highly-researched biographies are a joy to read and utterly immersive. I chose A House in the Mountains because it shows me what it’s like to survive the hardscrabble blow-by-blow of daily life under an occupying army, and how you can defeat it. The five women whose lives in the Italian Resistance during WWII she chronicles here are models of courage and creative resistance to tyranny.

By Caroline Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Moorehead paints a wonderfully vivid and moving portrait of the women of the Italian Resistance...an excellent book... She depicts a tragic fate that is timeless, of dreams forged in adversity, shattered by collisions with practical politics' MAX HASTINGS, SUNDAY TIMES

A Spectator Book of the Year

The extraordinary story of the courageous women who spearheaded the Italian Resistance during the Second World War

In the late summer of 1943, when Italy changed sides in the War and the Germans - now their enemies - occupied the north of the country, an Italian Resistance was born. Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Italy, epicureanism, and Rome?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Italy, epicureanism, and Rome.

Italy Explore 380 books about Italy
Epicureanism Explore 16 books about epicureanism
Rome Explore 319 books about Rome