100 books like The Nomad

By Isabelle Eberhardt,

Here are 100 books that The Nomad fans have personally recommended if you like The Nomad. 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 Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

Tom Lutz Author Of And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit

From my list on travel books for wanderers.

Who am I?

Well before I started writing travel books and novels, I was addicted to travel, to wandering, to being a vagabond. As a teenager I would hitchhike and simply go wherever the driver was headed, roaming as far as possible before turning around in time to get home before dark. As soon as I turned 18, I worked for six months day and night and then took the money and spent a year on a very low-rent tour of some 25 countries. As you will see, my picks here have little or nothing to do with hotels and restaurants, and little to do, except in passing, with sightseeing or sports activity or other common tourist activities. Like my own books, they are interested in people and ideas and, as Rebecca Solnit calls it, getting lost.

Tom's book list on travel books for wanderers

Tom Lutz Why did Tom love this book?

Originally published privately in 1904 for his nieces, it was printed commercially a decade later and has stayed in print ever since. It is a “tour” of the two great cathedrals one from the 11th century and one from the 13th, and both among the wonders of the world. But it is much more: a cultural history of medieval Europe, a sympathetic understanding of the worldview of everyday people of that era, and a reading of some of the great thinkers—Abelard, Aquinas—of that era. He is a great storyteller, and since it is written for his two young relatives, it is not dry or academic, but full of avuncular charm and wisdom.

By Henry Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using architecture, sculpture, culture and history, Adams humanizes the medieval period and provides valuable insight on religious philosophy. Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes provides a background and description of the construction of two French landmarks built in the 11th century. The Mont-Saint Michel cathedral was built during a militant time; it was not enough to simply be steadfast in one's own beliefs, but also to make others believe them. Religious conversion was a form of defense. Mont-Saint Michel was built in a period where faith was aggressive, almost violent, and to accommodate this, Mont-Saint Michel was built in honor of a…


Book cover of In Patagonia

Nicholas Shakespeare Author Of Ian Fleming: The Complete Man

From my list on post-war Latin America.

Who am I?

I am a British novelist and biographer who lived on and off in Latin America from the 1960s to the late 1980s. I was a boy in Brazil during the Death Squads; an adolescent in Argentina during the Dirty War; and a young journalist in Peru during the Shining Path insurgency, publishing a reportage for Granta on my search for Abimael Guzman. I gave the 2010 Borges Lecture and have written two novels set in Peru, the second of which, The Dancer Upstairs, was chosen as the best novel of 1995 by the American Libraries Association and turned into a film by John Malkovich.

Nicholas' book list on post-war Latin America

Nicholas Shakespeare Why did Nicholas love this book?

Neither novel nor travel book, this classic journey defies category.

Purportedly a quest for a scrap of giant slothskin, which the author finds in a cave in southern Chile, it zig-zags through time and space, alighting on travellers from Magellan to Butch Cassidy, while trampling down conventional boundaries.

“Everyone says: ‘Are you writing a novel?’ No, I’m writing a story and I do rather insist that things must be called stories. That seems to me to be what they are. I don’t quite know the meaning of the word novel.” 

By Bruce Chatwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The book that redefined travel writing' Guardian

Bruce Chatwin sets off on a journey through South America in this wistful classic travel book

With its unique, roving structure and beautiful descriptions, In Patagonia offers an original take on the age-old adventure tale. Bruce Chatwin's journey to a remote country in search of a strange beast brings along with it a cast of fascinating characters. Their stories delay him on the road, but will have you tearing through to the book's end.

'It is hard to pin down what makes In Patagonia so unique, but, in the end, it is Chatwin's…


Book cover of Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far-East

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Who am I?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

I read Video Night in Kathmandu when I was travelling in India the first time around. It was an education in East-West relations and opened my eyes to travel being a huge privilege. I also learned to arrive in a new place with, as far as possible, no expectations. Pico Iyer is incredibly insightful and draws attention to the fluidity of culture. He acknowledges his Indian roots and how your own cultural heritage can’t help but colour your experience of a place: something to be mindful of. The video mentioned in the title is Rambo, rammed full of western hegemonic ideals, which, weirdly, was a smash hit everywhere in Asia. Iyer’s observations are absolutely on point, entertaining, highlighting the bizarre which, of course, is very funny, as well as thought-provoking.

By Pico Iyer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Video Night in Kathmandu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Pico Iyer began his travels, he wanted to know how Rambo conquered Asia. Why did Dire Straits blast out over Hiroshima, Bruce Springsteen over Bali and Madonna over all? If he was eager to learn where East meets West, how pop culture and imperialism penetrated through the world's most ancient civilisations, then the truths he began to uncover were more startling, more subtle, more complex than he ever anticipated. Who was hustling whom? When did this pursuit of illusions and vested interests, with it's curious mix of innocence and calculation, turn from confrontation into the mating dance? Iyer travelled…


Book cover of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Who am I?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

This book really got to me because it offers a rich and quixotic history of walking that encompasses the Romantics, the French flaneurs, and a host of other wanderers. In her chapter on San Francisco, Solnit re-maps the space of her home city in a way that outlines her own rediscovery and gave me new eyes to see a place that I love.

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A passionate, thought provoking exploration of walking as a political and cultural activity, from the author of the memoir Recollections of My Nonexistence

Drawing together many histories--of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores--Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers. She profiles some of the most…


Book cover of The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga

Bill Murray Author Of Out in the Cold: Travels North: Adventures in Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada

From my list on to understand the high north.

Who am I?

There’s nothing like personal experience. You have to read the literature, it’s true. That’s how we’ve all met here at Shepherd. But you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to visiting, too, if you want to write about travel. I first approached the Arctic in 1991 and I return above sixty degrees north every year, although I must confess to a secret advantage; I married a Finn. We spend summers at a little cabin north of Helsinki. I know the region personally, I keep coming back, and I invite you, whenever you can, to come up and join us!

Bill's book list on to understand the high north

Bill Murray Why did Bill love this book?

This is through and through simply a gorgeous little book.

I enjoyed rereading it for this article. The largest body of fresh water on earth is Lake Baikal, not far east of Irkutsk in Siberia.

(If you’ve never heard of Baikal, that’s a measure of the variety of wonders to be found in the high north. Baikal holds so much water because it’s so deep: the world’s deepest at more than 5300 feet). If you ever have the opportunity you must visit.

My wife and I have traveled together a good bit, and I don’t feel we’re cloistered in any way, but to turn up in the ramshackle town of Listvyanka, Russia, at the beginning of this century, and then to charter a small boat to cross Baikal made me feel, I don’t know, maybe like Dorothy in the Emerald City.

I was just a total alien in a place…

By Sylvain Tesson, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sylvain Tesson, found a radical solution to his need for freedom, one as ancient as the experiences of the hermits of old Russia: he decided to lock himself alone in a cabin in the middle taiga, on the shores of Baikal, for six months. Noting carefully his impressions of the silence, Sylvain Tesson shares with us an extraordinary experience.


Book cover of The Journals Of A White Sea Wolf

Louisa Waugh Author Of Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia

From my list on the intimate lives of landscapes.

Who am I?

Louisa Waugh is a writer, blogger, and the prize-winning author of three non-fiction books: Hearing Birds Fly, Selling Olga, and Meet Me in Gaza. She has lived and worked in the Middle East, Central and West Africa, and is a conflict adviser for an international peace-building organisation. She blogs at The Waugh Zone and currently lives in Brighton, on the southern English coast, where she kayaks and drinks red wine on the beach, usually not at the same time.

Louisa's book list on the intimate lives of landscapes

Louisa Waugh Why did Louisa love this book?

In 1991, Mariusz Wilk, a Polish journalist long fascinated by the mysteries of the Russian soul, moved to the Solovki islands, a lonely archipelago amidst the far northern shores of Russia’s White Sea. He lived on one of these islands for seven years, and came to know every single one of its thousand residents. His sparse, heartfelt account of these islands that are dominated by the powerful interwoven forces of religion, politics, and the Arctic, is unconventional, and well worth the challenge. He pierces beneath the skin and the ice of this remote community and slowly begins to unravel the complexities and contradictions of Russia’s history and her landscapes.

By Mariusz Wilk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Journals Of A White Sea Wolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1991 Mariusz Wilk, a Polish journalist long fascinated by the mysteries of the Russian soul, decided to take up residence in the Solovki islands, a lonely archipelago lost amid the far northern reaches of Russia's White Sea. For Wilk these islands represented the quintessence of Russia: a place of exile and a microcosm of the crumbling Soviet empire. On the one hand, they were a cradle of the Orthodox faith and home to an important monastery; on the other, it was here that the first experimental gulag was built after the 1917 revolution. Over the course of years Wilk…


Book cover of The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu

Diane Lemieux Author Of Culture Smart! Canada

From my list on understanding the locals.

Who am I?

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?

This book is a ‘gold standard’ piece of investigative journalism, a travelogue about a people I will probably never meet, rolled into the intriguing history of a unique city.

The book interweaves the tale of the efforts local people made to save priceless manuscripts from al-Qaida in 2012 with the West’s fascination of fabled Timbuktu since the 18th century.

It is an un-put-downable example of creative non-fiction at its most interesting and easily readable.

By Charlie English,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two tales of a city: The historical race to reach one of the world's most mythologized places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend.

The fabled city of Timbuktu has captured the Western imagination for centuries. The search for this 'African El Dorado' cost the lives of many explorers but Timbuktu is rich beyond its legends. Home to many thousands of ancient manuscripts on poetry, history, religion, law, pharmacology and astronomy, the city has been…


Book cover of A Book of Silence

Louisa Waugh Author Of Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia

From my list on the intimate lives of landscapes.

Who am I?

Louisa Waugh is a writer, blogger, and the prize-winning author of three non-fiction books: Hearing Birds Fly, Selling Olga, and Meet Me in Gaza. She has lived and worked in the Middle East, Central and West Africa, and is a conflict adviser for an international peace-building organisation. She blogs at The Waugh Zone and currently lives in Brighton, on the southern English coast, where she kayaks and drinks red wine on the beach, usually not at the same time.

Louisa's book list on the intimate lives of landscapes

Louisa Waugh Why did Louisa love this book?

Of all the destinations we can and do explore during our lives, our internal landscape is the most intimate. Without silence, how do we begin to know ourselves, and to see ourselves for who we really are? Sara Maitland moved from being a chatterer to “a silence hunter,” seeking out spaces where she could live alone and savour silent solitude. Her book explores histories and landscapes of silence, from contemplatives to explorers. She nails the difference between bad silence (the kind most of us are terrified of) and the spaciousness of prolonged silence that, eventually, becomes a state of bliss. Don’t be put off by the apparent seriousness of this subject: Sara might be a religious reclusive, but she writes in accessible prose that, ironically, induces the sense you could almost be having a drink together. It’s a brilliant book.

By Sara Maitland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After a noisy upbringing as one of six children, and adulthood as a vocal feminist and mother, Sara Maitland began to crave silence. Over the past five years, she has spent periods of silence in the Sinai Desert and the Australian bush and on the Isle of Skye. She interweaves these experiences with the history of silence told through fairy tale and myth, Western and Eastern religious traditions, the Enlightenment and psychoanalysis, up to the ambivalence towards silence in contemporary society. Maitland has built a hermitage on an isolated Scottish moor, and the book culminates powerfully with her experiences of…


Book cover of Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

Martin Evans Author Of Algeria: France's Undeclared War

From my list on the Algerian War from an Algerian perspective.

Who am I?

I've been fascinated by Algeria ever since I first visited the country in the summer of 1982, visiting cities in the north, Algiers and Oran, and then crossing over the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert. This encounter never left me, so it was quite natural that when I started a PhD I was drawn to Algerian history. My books seek to both put Algerians centre-stage through their creativity expressed in music, food, poetry, writings and humour and to connect them to wider global histories. I'm co-curating a Cultures of Resistance Festival in Dublin which will bring together Algerian and Irish creatives to reflect upon their common resistance cultures.

Martin's book list on the Algerian War from an Algerian perspective

Martin Evans Why did Martin love this book?

This is not only a beautifully written book, it is an important one. Why? Because it poses challenging questions about the promise of post-independence freedom for Algerian women through a collection of short stories written between 1959 and 1978. First published in French in 1980, the writing style is at once innovative, lyrical, and unsettling as Assia Djebar explores the condition of Algerian women across the pre-colonial, colonial and immediate post-colonial periods. The inspiration for the book is Eugène Delacroix’s 1834 painting of women in an Algerian harem because, as Djebar explains in the post-face, this picture leads her straight to the conundrum of 1970s Algeria: “What would Delacroix see if he entered into contemporary Algerian apartments?” And for her the depressing conclusion is that he would still find women locked up and shut away just as in the 1830s. One of the most significant voices to emerge from Algeria,…

By Assia Djebar, Marjolijn de Jager (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women of Algiers in Their Apartment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The cloth edition of Assia Djebar's Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, her first work to be published in English, was named by the American Literary Translators Association as an ALTA Outstanding Translation of the Year. Now available in paperback, this collection of three long stories, three short ones, and a theoretical postface by one of North Africa's leading writers depicts the plight of urban Algerian women who have thrown off the shackles of colonialism only to face a postcolonial regime that denies and subjugates them even as it celebrates the liberation of men. Denounced in Algeria for its political…


Book cover of A Dying Colonialism

Martin Evans Author Of Algeria: France's Undeclared War

From my list on the Algerian War from an Algerian perspective.

Who am I?

I've been fascinated by Algeria ever since I first visited the country in the summer of 1982, visiting cities in the north, Algiers and Oran, and then crossing over the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert. This encounter never left me, so it was quite natural that when I started a PhD I was drawn to Algerian history. My books seek to both put Algerians centre-stage through their creativity expressed in music, food, poetry, writings and humour and to connect them to wider global histories. I'm co-curating a Cultures of Resistance Festival in Dublin which will bring together Algerian and Irish creatives to reflect upon their common resistance cultures.

Martin's book list on the Algerian War from an Algerian perspective

Martin Evans Why did Martin love this book?

Psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, Frantz Fanon is born in Martinique in 1925 and comes to work in French Algeria in 1953 as a doctor in a hospital in Blida, just south of Algiers. Angry at the way in which treatment of Algerian patients is shot through with institutionalised racism, Fanon resigns his post in 1956 and joins the FLN in Tunisia. Working as a journalist, his writings are a piercing attack on French colonialism which feed directly into A Dying Colonialism. Published in 1959, the fifth year of the Algerian Revolution, each chapter analyses how the liberation struggle is transforming Algerian society at every level, from attitudes to technology and medicine through to the role of women—perspectives that decisively frame Gillo Pontecorvo’s depiction of the Algerian War in his 1966 cinematic masterpiece Battle of Algiers

Fanon dies of cancer two years later, shortly before independence, but this book, translated…

By Frantz Fanon, Haakon Chevalier (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Frantz Fanon's seminal work on anticolonialism and the fifth year of the Algerian Revolution.

Psychiatrist, humanist, revolutionary, Frantz Fanon was one of the great political analysts of our time, the author of such seminal works of modern revolutionary theory as The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks. He has had a profound impact on civil rights, anticolonialism, and black consciousness movements around the world.

A Dying Colonialism is Fanon's incisive and illuminating account of how, during the Algerian Revolution, the people of Algeria changed centuries-old cultural patterns and embraced certain ancient cultural practices long derided by their…


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