10 books like The Nomad

By Isabelle Eberhardt,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Nomad. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

By Henry Adams,

Book cover of Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

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.

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

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…


In Patagonia

By Bruce Chatwin,

Book cover of In Patagonia

Chatwin is a storyteller and adventurer. He makes his way into Argentina, across the Pampas, and into the mountains at the tip of South America where he finds in a cave remnants of a giant ground sloth that had lived there thousands of years before. His writing takes you on the journey: listening to a pianist on a passenger ship playing on an out-of-tune piano, drinking with local shepherds, telling tales of old conflicts and revolutions. Like all good travel writers, he is precise: “I passed through a desert of black stones and came to Sarmiento. It was another dusty grid of metal buildings, lying on a strip of arable land between the fizzling turquoise Lake Musters and the slime-green Lake Colhue-Huapi.”

In Patagonia

By Bruce Chatwin,

Why should I read it?

4 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…


Video Night in Kathmandu

By Pico Iyer,

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

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.

Video Night in Kathmandu

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…


Wanderlust

By Rebecca Solnit,

Book cover of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Like Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost, this book is about what it means to be open to serendipity, to take “subversive detours,” and to travel without a checklist, shopping list, or itinerary. Neither of these are traditional travel books, but instead offer a sense of travel that includes our own backyards and dreamscapes as well as foreign terrain. Solnit is one of the great and one of the most versatile writers of our time, with a roving intelligence that enlivens whatever she looks at, be it medieval maps or downtrodden city streets, and that, finally, is what travel writing is at its best: we encounter not just new places, but new ways of seeing.

Wanderlust

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


The Consolations of the Forest

By Sylvain Tesson, Linda Coverdale (translator),

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

“Fifteen kinds of ketchup. That’s the sort of thing that made me want to withdraw from this world”.  So French nomad Sylvain Tesson retreated to a cabin in the woods on the edge of Lake Baikal, in the middle of Siberia. He took a lot of dried pasta with him, and Tabasco sauce, along with litres and litres of vodka. His account of six months cabinning in the taiga are poignant and sublimely poetic. His book is replete with leisurely ruminations on, amongst other topics, French literature, testosterone-fuelled herd behaviour (his words), messy love affairs, alcoholism, and the joys of solitude amidst the magnificent and sometimes terrifying beauty of Siberia.

The Consolations of the Forest

By Sylvain Tesson, Linda Coverdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author 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.


The Journals Of A White Sea Wolf

By Mariusz Wilk,

Book cover of The Journals Of A White Sea Wolf

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.

The Journals Of A White Sea Wolf

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…


The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu

By Charlie English,

Book cover of The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu

Has a city ever been more mythologised than Timbuktu? Sure, it has been exaggerated in Western  Orientalist imaginations - but Malians have also subscribed to, and helped to create, this myth. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Timbuktu, and this non-fiction investigation into the “rescue” of  Timbuktu’s sacred manuscripts after Islamist attacks, is a brilliant combination of a real-life thriller and a biography of the enigmatic city herself. The realities of Timbuktu are not disappointing: it remains a well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage site, and a living city of trade, with ancient mosques and churches, erected amidst Saharan sand dunes and a bombed-out airport. The people who live here have also survived horrific violence: this book is a pretty accurate account of what did, and didn’t, happen when the Islamists came to town.

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu

By Charlie English,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


A Book of Silence

By Sara Maitland,

Book cover of A Book of Silence

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.

A Book of Silence

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…


Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

By Assia Djebar, Marjolijn de Jager (translator),

Book cover of Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

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,…

Women of Algiers in Their Apartment

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…


A Dying Colonialism

By Frantz Fanon, Haakon Chevalier (translator),

Book cover of A Dying Colonialism

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…

A Dying Colonialism

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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