100 books like The Love-Artist

By Jane Alison,

Here are 100 books that The Love-Artist fans have personally recommended if you like The Love-Artist. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Memoirs of Hadrian

Larry Mellman Author Of The Man With Sapphire Eyes

From my list on historical fiction with a twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved historical fiction as a reader, but my passion to write it caught fire during the years I lived in Venice, Italy, when I discovered the curious institution of the ballot boy within the Byzantine complexities of the thousand-year Venetian Republic. Since ballot boys were randomly chosen over a period of six hundred years, choosing my particular Doge and ballot boy required a survey of the entire field before I circled in on Venice, 1368, IMHO the peak brilliance of that maritime empire. It is a peculiarity of history that the names of all 130 doges of Venice are recorded, but none of their ballot boys are mentioned. The challenge was irresistible. 

Larry's book list on historical fiction with a twist

Larry Mellman Why did Larry love this book?

It’s not Hadrian’s love affair with the beautiful boy Antinous that swept me off my feet, nor the way Hadrian makes him a god after his mysterious death and builds a city dedicated to worshiping him.

That’s only a small part of a book overflowing with the emperor’s interior life, his fears and doubts and dreams. Yourcenar spent most of her life on and off writing this book, her life’s work. Filled with the exhilaration and perplexity of achieving absolute power and then holding onto it, we experience Hadrian as a profoundly paradoxical genius from the inside out. 

By Marguerite Yourcenar, Grace Frick,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Memoirs of Hadrian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics.

In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful…


Book cover of Eagle in the Snow

Edoardo Albert Author Of Edwin

From my list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and historian, specialising in the early-Medieval period and the fractious but fruitful encounter between the Christian and Islamic worlds. My fiction is informed by my non-fiction work: it’s a great help to have written actual histories of Northumbria in collaboration with some of the foremost archaeologists working on the period. I regard my work as the imaginative application of what we can learn through history to stories and the books I have selected all do this through the extraordinarily varied talents of their authors. I hope you will enjoy them!

Edoardo's book list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction

Edoardo Albert Why did Edoardo love this book?

For writers of historical fiction, Eagle in the Snow has attained almost mythical status. First published fifty years ago, the book is still in print mainly through the enthusiastic recommendation of readers. Wallace Breem wrote only two other works and died in 1990, so there will be nothing more from his pen. It adds piquancy to the themes of the story: it’s a tale of the passing of things and the dying of an empire. It’s the tale of a man struggling against the fading of the light, even though he knows the struggle is hopeless. It’s a story of endings in a world that does not understand its mortality.

By Wallace Breem,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Eagle in the Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A novel about General Maximus, one of the inspirations behind Ridley Scott's massively successful film GLADIATOR.

'Behind me I left my youth, my middle age, my wife and my happiness. I was a general now and I had only defeat or victory to look forward to. There was no middle way any longer, and I did not care.'

In the year AD 406 Rome was on the defensive everywhere, and a single Roman legion stood desperate guard on the Empire's Rhine frontier. Maximus, the legion's commander, is urged to proclaim himself emperor, but he stands by his concept of duty…


Book cover of The Long Ships

Daniel Ben-Horin Author Of Substantial Justice

From my list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Humor is based on surprise and the ‘foreign’ is often surprising. As I traveled all over the world for work, I searched out local authors and found myself laughing. It started with At Swim Two Birds and has never stopped.

Daniel's book list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of

Daniel Ben-Horin Why did Daniel love this book?

I remember buying The Long Ships about twenty years ago on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. Generally speaking, 1950s Swedish novels about Vikings are not my thing, but there was an absolutely over-the-top introduction from Michael Chabon.…'best novel ever’ kind of stuff…so I bought it.

Since then, I have recommended it to dozens of people, almost all of whom have, often to their surprise, loved it and recommended it to others. My favorite recommendation was to a pal whose daughter absconded with it and was reading it on a parapet in southern Spain when a guy came by and asked her what she was reading. She showed him the book, he perused it gravely, and then tore out the frontispiece and used it to roll a joint. This is a very satisfying book in every way.

Don’t get it confused with the derivative Norwegian comedy series, Norsemen. The Long Ships…

By Frans G. Bengtsson, Michael Meyer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Long Ships as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This saga brings alive the world of the 10th century AD when the Vikings raided the coasts of England.

Acclaimed as one of the best historical novels ever written, this engaging saga of Viking adventure in 10th century northern Europe has a very appealing young hero, Orm Tostesson, whose story we follow from inexperienced youth to adventurous old age, through slavery and adventure to a royal marriage and the search for great treasure. Viking expeditions take him to lands as far apart as England, Moorish Spain, Gaardarike (the country that was to become Russia), and the long road to Miklagard.…


Book cover of Quarantine

Jonathan Trigell Author Of The Tongues of Men or Angels

From my list on fiction with Jesus as a character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of five extremely different novels: Boy A (which was made into an award-winning film), Cham, Genus, The Tongues of Men or Angels, and Under Country. They share almost nothing in subject or setting. Ranging from first-century Judaea to a future London. From ski resort workers in France to young offender prisons in Britain. My latest work - Under Country - is about the 1984 Miners’ Strike and its still lingering scars in the North East pit villages. Yet, I suppose, if there were a unifying theme between them, it would be that each, in its own way, is influenced by and fascinated with Christianity.

Jonathan's book list on fiction with Jesus as a character

Jonathan Trigell Why did Jonathan love this book?

Written long before quarantines became so fashionable, Jesus in Jim Crace’s novel is an almost peripheral player, because set during Christ’s forty days in the wilderness six other people share in the inhospitable desert caves, miracles, and hallucinations. Each character has their own troubles and trials; their own battles with demons to resolve; which they hope isolation and fasting will accomplish. And for each, in ingenious ways, it does… I am a big fan of Crace’s style, rhythm, and invention, and this is one of his finest works.

By Jim Crace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With an introduction by Stuart Evers

So this is happiness, she thought. Or this, at least, is what adds up to happiness. The prospect of never running after men and camels any more, of being Miri without shame or hesitation, of letting drop her headscarf for a change so that nothing intervened between her and the sky.

Five travellers venture into the Judean wilderness in search of redemption. Instead, amidst the barren rocks, they are met by a dangerous man, Musa, and fall under his dark influence. As the unforgiving days and bitter nights erode their resolve, it becomes clear…


Book cover of Of Fire and Ash

Lindsay A. Franklin Author Of The Story Peddler

From my list on YA Christian fantasy to unlock your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Lindsay, and I never stop falling in love with human creativity. From the moment I first cracked open a library-borrowed copy of The Wizard of Oz as a child, I’ve been asking “What if…?” and I’ve delighted in how other authors imaginatively tackle that question. My interests are eclectic, ranging from history and politics to baking and sparkly things. I read to be swept away and to take a peek inside the storyteller’s mind and heart.

Lindsay's book list on YA Christian fantasy to unlock your imagination

Lindsay A. Franklin Why did Lindsay love this book?

Easily one of my favorite epic fantasies I’ve read in recent years. The complexity of Gillian’s world is a highlight, yet she still makes the story and those within it accessible for her readers. It felt deep, not cluttered. She writes distinctly and with heart from three different points of view. I couldn’t flip pages fast enough, anxious for the moment these three story threads would intersect. It was more than worth the wait. 

By Gillian Bronte Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She rides a fireborn, a steed of fire and ash, trained for destruction.

Ceridwen tal Desmond dreams of ruling like her father over the nation of Soldonia, where warriors ride to battle on magical steeds—soaring on storm winds, vanishing in shadow, quaking the earth, and summoning the sea. After a tragic accident claims her twin brother, she is exiled and sworn to atonement by spending her life—or death—for her people.

But when invaders spill onto Soldonia’s shores and traitors seize upon the chaos to murder her father, Ceridwen claims the crown to keep the nation from splintering. Combatting overwhelming odds…


Book cover of The Emigrants

Edward Dusinberre Author Of Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home

From my list on loss and discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

For three decades I have been the first violinist of the Takács Quartet, performing concerts worldwide and based at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I love the ways in which books, like music, offer new and surprising elements at different stages of life, providing companionship alongside joys and sorrows. 

Edward's book list on loss and discovery

Edward Dusinberre Why did Edward love this book?

One of the most original books I have ever read, and as such impossible to classify by genrea dizzying mix of memoir, history, and travel writing. As the separate stories of four apparently unrelated individuals unfold, Sebald exposes a common theme: the loss of identity through trauma and displacement. The stories are devastating and yet there is something hopeful in Sebald’s melancholic and vivid writing, the powerful case he makes for these stories being heard.

By W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The four long narratives in The Emigrants appear at first to be the straightforward biographies of four Germans in exile. Sebald reconstructs the lives of a painter, a doctor, an elementary-school teacher, and Great Uncle Ambrose. Following (literally) in their footsteps, the narrator retraces routes of exile which lead from Lithuania to London, from Munich to Manchester, from the South German provinces to Switzerland, France, New York, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. Along with memories, documents, and diaries of the Holocaust, he collects photographs-the enigmatic snapshots which stud The Emigrants and bring to mind family photo albums. Sebald combines precise documentary with…


Book cover of King of Cuba

John Thorndike Author Of A Hundred Fires in Cuba

From my list on Cuba, the Revolution, and Cuban exiles.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over fifty years ago I joined the Peace Corps in El Salvador. I married a Salvadoran woman, and our child was born during our two-year stay on a backcountry farm in Chile. My interest in Latin America has never faded—and in my latest novel, The World Against Her Skin, which is based on my mother’s life, I give her a pair of years in the Peace Corps. But it is Cuba that remains the most fascinating of all the countries south of our border, and of course I had to write about the giant turn it took in 1959, and the men and women who spurred that revolution.

John's book list on Cuba, the Revolution, and Cuban exiles

John Thorndike Why did John love this book?

Cristina Garcia has become the definitive chronicler of both Cuba and Cuban exiles. King of Cuba tells the story of two men: El Comandante (also called the despot, the tyrant, or El Líder—clearly this is Fidel) and a Miami exile, Goyo Herrera, who is as old and infirm as Castro himself. Garcia’s portrait of the desperation and ignominies these two old guys suffer, and of their hopeless attempts to cleave to past glories, transcends Cuban history and brings us two men I found cantankerous and self-inflating, but irresistible.

By Cristina García,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A “darkly hilarious” (Elle) novel about a fictionalized Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuban exile obsessed with seeking revenge by the National Book Award finalist Cristina García, this “clever, well-conceived dual portrait shows what connects and divides Cubans inside and outside of the island” (Kirkus Reviews).

Vivid and teeming with life, King of Cuba transports readers to Cuba and Miami, and into the heads of two larger-than-life men: a fictionalized Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuban exile obsessed with seeking revenge against the dictator. García’s masterful twinning of these characters combines with a rabble of other Cuban voices to portray…


Book cover of Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky

Donald Rayfield Author Of Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him

From my list on Russia and the USSR.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since adolescence, I have been fascinated by Slavonic languages, literature, cultures, and history, and by what can be retrieved from archives all over Eastern Europe. And because so much has been suppressed or distorted in everything from biographies of writers to atrocities by totalitarian governments, there has been much to expose and write about. Studying at Cambridge in the 1960s gave me an opportunity to learn everything from Lithuanian to Slovak: I have been able to write histories of Stalin and of Georgia, biographies of Russians such as Chekhov, Suvorin, and Przhevalsky, and the field is still fresh and open for future work.

Donald's book list on Russia and the USSR

Donald Rayfield Why did Donald love this book?

Patenaude focuses just on the Mexican period, from January 1937 to August 1940, of Trotsky’s exile, although the previous stages of his exile — Kazakhstan in 1928, then Turkey for four years, France for another three, followed by interment in Norway — are dealt with in a series of flashbacks. In fact, the whole book is written as if Trotsky in Coyoacán were recalling his past, from his prosperous farmer’s boyhood to his underground militancy, his Civil War military brilliance, and his blundering incompetence as a Bolshevik power-broker. The danger that Patenaude flirts with is to let Trotsky’s charisma and undoubted genius charm him into overlooking his subject’s monstrous indifference to the suffering and deaths of others, sometimes even of those close to him, as well as his overweening conceit.

By dealing with the last phase of the tragedy, nemesis, Trotsky is seen to pay in fear, resignation, failure, and…

By Bertrand M. Patenaude,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leon Trotsky was the charismatic intellectual of the Russian Revolution, a brilliant writer and orator who was also an authoritarian organizer. He might have succeeded Lenin and become the ruler of the Soviet Union. But by the time the Second World War broke out he was in exile, living in Mexico in a villa borrowed from the great artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, guarded only by several naive young Americans in awe of the great theoretician. The household was awash with emotional turmoil - tensions grew between Trotsky and Rivera, as questions arose over his relations with Frida Kahlo.…


Book cover of The Postcard

Jayne Anne Phillips Author Of Night Watch

From my list on mothers and daughters and the trauma of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born into a powerfully matrilineal family (my mother chose my name when she was twelve) in small town Appalachia, I believe that we inherit our parents’ unresolved emotional dilemmas as well as their physical characteristics, and that the sensual elements of places our families may have inhabited for generations are “bred in the bone.” I’ve always said that history tells us the facts, but literature tells us the story. I’m a language-conscious writer who began as a poet, so that each line has a beat and a rhythm. Words awaken our memories and the powerful unconscious knowledge we all possess. The reader meets the writer inside the story: it’s a connection of mind and heart. 

Jayne's book list on mothers and daughters and the trauma of war

Jayne Anne Phillips Why did Jayne love this book?

An amazing imaginative blend of nonfiction and reportage, The Postcard sets a mystery in motion.

In 2003, with the rest of the Christmas holiday mail, a postcard arrives at the Paris home of Annie Berest. The card is blank but for the names of her maternal great-grandparents and their two children – all killed at Auschwitz. 

Fifteen years later, Annie and her chain-smoking mother embark on a journey: discovering the fates of the Rabinovitch family who flee the Russian revolution for Latvia, Palestine, and Paris. Annie and her mother discover secrets that shatter the present; mother and daughter question the past and accept a new reality in their own distinct ways. 

I loved both the mystery revealed and the unshakable resolve of these women, who spent years finding the truth.

By Anne Berest, Tina Kover (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Choix Goncourt Prize, Anne Berest’s The Postcard is a vivid portrait of twentieth-century Parisian intellectual and artistic life, an enthralling investigation into family secrets, and poignant tale of a Jewish family devastated by the Holocaust and partly restored through the power of storytelling.

January, 2003. Together with the usual holiday cards, an anonymous postcard is delivered to the Berest family home. On the front, a photo of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. On the back, the names of Anne Berest’s maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacques—all killed at Auschwitz.

Fifteen years after…


Book cover of The Disoriented

Diane Lemieux Author Of Culture Smart! Canada

From my list on understanding the locals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Quebec, have lived in eleven countries, and speak four languages. In my 20+ years as an author and journalist, my goal has always been to create bridges between cultures and to tell stories that enable individuals to better understand each other. For me, a trip to a new country, no matter how short or long, is incomplete unless I’ve had the chance to meet locals.

Diane's book list on understanding the locals

Diane Lemieux Why did Diane love this book?

I wish I’d read this book before visiting Lebanese friends there.

The story of a man who returns to his native Lebanon years after the civil war, it portrays the complexity of their society through the impact the war had on a group of university friends.

It gives a wonderfully accurate feel of the sights, sounds, and tastes of the country, and an astute description of the psyche of the Lebanese people from the point of view of a returnee.

By Amin Maalouf, Frank Wynne (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A thoughtful, philosophically rich story that probes a still-open wound.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Maalouf is a thoughtful, humane and passionate interlocutor.” ―The New York Times Book Review One night, a phone rings in Paris. Adam learns that Mourad, once his closest friend, is dying. He quickly throws some clothes in a suitcase and takes the first flight out, to the homeland he fled twenty-five years ago. Exiled in France, Adam has been leading a peaceful life as a respected historian, but back among the milk-white mountains of the East his past soon catches up with him. His childhood friends have all…


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