100 books like The Nutmeg's Curse

By Amitav Ghosh,

Here are 100 books that The Nutmeg's Curse fans have personally recommended if you like The Nutmeg's Curse. 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 The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

Robert O. Schneider Author Of An Unmitigated Disaster: America's Response to COVID-19

From my list on the “war” between politics and science.

Why am I passionate about this?

My research and writing in the field of emergency or disaster management has been focused on the concept of hazard mitigation. This means reducing the impact of disasters, the creation of hazard resilient and sustainable communities, and the application of scientific and technical expertise to the task. We all live in a world where it has become more important than ever to make intelligent decisions driven by a comprehension of the properties of the physical universe. It is also a world in which economic self-interest and political interests may impede that idealistic goal. I have a sense of urgency about reducing the efficacy of such impediments.      

Robert's book list on the “war” between politics and science

Robert O. Schneider Why did Robert love this book?

Barry’s dramatic historical account of the 1918 influenza pandemic has been called “fascinating,” “brilliant,” “sobering,” and “terrifying” by numerous reviewers.

It is a piece of history, the worst public health disaster in the century before COVID-19, that should have helped succeeding generations to take pandemic preparedness more seriously. It should have enhanced our understanding that during such a crisis, science must lead the way. Despite all that we did learn from the great influenza of 1918, we were unable to avoid many of the mistakes made when our leaders too often shunned the advice of science and made the COVID-19 pandemic political.

This book informed and influenced me greatly. It inspired me to see the need for and the importance of recording and learning from our experiences a century later.

By John M. Barry,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Great Influenza as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the height of WWI, history's most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, "The Great Influenza"…


Book cover of Salvage the Bones

Amy Rowland Author Of Inside the Wolf

From my list on understanding the American South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m from North Carolina, and Inside the Wolf is the first book I’ve written about the American South. For a long time, I resisted writing about my home state. I moved to New York and tried to write elegant New York stories. But writing is thinking for me, and I had to think through some of the stories and memories and hauntings of my youth. The books on this list have made me want to keep doing it

Amy's book list on understanding the American South

Amy Rowland Why did Amy love this book?

Salvage the Bones was the first Jesmyn Ward book I read, and I fell for 14-year-old Esch, who loves Greek myths and a boy named Manny. Set in the days before Hurricane Katrina, Esch and her beloved brothers live young lives full of – well, full lives, that’s the point. 

Ward told the Paris Review about living through Hurricane Katrina, “I saw an entire town demolished, people fighting over water, breaking open caskets searching for something that could help them survive. I realized that if I was going to assume the responsibility of writing about my home, I needed narrative ruthlessness. I couldn’t dull the edges and fall in love with my characters and spare them. Life does not spare us.”

Ward is an electrifying writer, and Salvage the Bones is an American classic. 

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Salvage the Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ 'A brilliantly pacy adventure story ... Ward writes like a dream' - The Times 'Fresh and urgent' - New York Times 'There's something of Faulkner to Ward's grand diction' - Guardian _______________ WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Hurricane Katrina is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. He's a hard drinker, largely absent, and it isn't often he worries about the family. Esch and her three brothers are stockpiling food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets;…


Book cover of Fathoms: The World in the Whale

Christopher J. Preston Author Of Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals

From my list on opening your eyes to wildlife.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in England but living now in America’s mountain west, I am sucker for landscapes that dance with unusual plants and animals. I have been a commercial fisherman, a tool librarian, and a back-country park ranger. These days, I’m an award-winning public philosopher and author. I have written books and articles about powerful emerging technologies. However, I realized a few years ago that wild animals are an antidote to the technological and commercial forces that can flatten our world. From art painted on cave walls millennia ago to the toys we still give to our children, animals are an important part of human identity. I celebrate this in my work.  

Christopher's book list on opening your eyes to wildlife

Christopher J. Preston Why did Christopher love this book?

How can you not already love these underwater giants? But I didn’t know much about them before reading Gigg’s love letter to our undersea cousins. They live by breathing air and giving birth like we do, but most of their lives takes place in a hidden, watery world.

The horror our species inflicted on whales during commercial whaling became more repulsive as Giggs uncovered the layers of whales’ complexity and sociality. I learned that arthritis sufferers in the nineteenth century would bathe in holes cut into whale carcasses for their curative powers. I also tried to imagine an animal with blood vessels big enough for a child to crawl through and a heartbeat that can be heard through the water for over a mile. 

By Rebecca Giggs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION
WINNER OF THE NIB LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE FOR NONFICTION
HIGHLY COMMENDED IN THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR WRITING ON GLOBAL CONSERVATION

A SUNDAY INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR

'There is a kind of hauntedness in wild animals today: a spectre related to environmental change ... Our fear is that the unseen spirits that move in them are ours. Once more, animals are a moral force.'

When Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beach in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of…


Book cover of The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

Sandy Sheehy Author Of Imperiled Reef: The Fascinating, Fragile Life of a Caribbean Wonder

From my list on the amazing world of coral reefs.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than four decades, Sandy Sheehy has been diving tropical coral reefs from the Caribbean to Australia. Starting when she was around five sitting in her pediatric dentist’s office where she noticed an aquarium stocked with colorful fish, her fascination with the underwater world has grown. Becoming a freelance journalist allowed her to call on experts and activists around the world to help her satisfy her curiosity and share what she learned.   

Sandy's book list on the amazing world of coral reefs

Sandy Sheehy Why did Sandy love this book?

In clear, evocative prose, Barnett describes the world of seashells and humans’ relationship to them. Her book was laced with “Who knew?” moments for me. For example, until recently people considered seashells a kind of rock, giving little thought to the creatures that built and inhabited them. Barnett explains the threat that rising carbon dioxide levels present to the formation and very existence of shells, but she never carps; and although she interjects some of her own experiences—and sense of wonder—she never lapses into making this book about her, rather than her subject.

By Cynthia Barnett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seashells have been the most coveted and collected of nature's creations for thousands of years. They were money before coins, jewellery before gems, art before canvas.

In The Sound of the Sea, Cynthia Barnett blends cultural history and environmental science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them. From the mysterious glow of giant clams to the surprising origin of Shell Oil as a family business importing exotic shells, the book is filled with unforgettable stories. As it explores the perfect symmetry of a Chambered Nautilus, the pink-glossed lip of…


Book cover of Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape

Emily Grandy Author Of Michikusa House

From my list on to help reconnect with the natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write well-researched literary fiction with an ecological focus. Before becoming a biomedical editor, I did clinical research for a leading academic medical center in Cleveland, OH. However, it was only by working at a research institution – and becoming a patient there – that I realized how much science overlooks; it’s only one way of knowing about something. Another way is by building relationships – including with non-human beings. It’s not just people who are complex. Every living thing exists within an intricate, nuanced ecosystem. This sort of knowing, built over long periods, is what facilitates understanding, compassion, and respect for other beings. These are the qualities I hope to share through my writing.

Emily's book list on to help reconnect with the natural world

Emily Grandy Why did Emily love this book?

Islands of Abandonment shares extraordinary examples of nature’s ability to reclaim – and restore – land abused by humans.

In startling vignettes, the author visits numerous abandoned sites, uninhabited by humans for different reasons: from Chernobyl to a no man's land on the island of Cyprus, to factories simply rendered obsolete leaving the surrounding neighborhoods blighted, dangerous and often empty.

I found this book to be, if not hopeful, then cautiously optimistic in its affirmation of nature’s resilience, even in the wake of massive destruction. Cal Flyn’s writing is enviably good: keenly observant, capturing intimate details about these landscapes and the non-human beings who inhabit them in vivid detail.

Unforgettable and illuminating. This is nature writing and investigative journalism at its best.

By Cal Flyn,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Islands of Abandonment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful, lyrical exploration of the places where nature is flourishing in our absence

"[Flyn] captures the dread, sadness, and wonder of beholding the results of humanity's destructive impulse, and she arrives at a new appreciation of life, 'all the stranger and more valuable for its resilence.'" --The New Yorker

Some of the only truly feral cattle in the world wander a long-abandoned island off the northernmost tip of Scotland. A variety of wildlife not seen in many lifetimes has rebounded on the irradiated grounds of Chernobyl. A lush forest supports thousands of species that are extinct or endangered everywhere…


Book cover of Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You See the World

Eric Magrane Author Of The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide

From my list on looking at field guides and atlases in a new way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love field guides. I can vividly picture my first copy of Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds, tattered and weather-beaten. I also love poetry and literature, so it seemed natural to me to bring the two together in my work. I’m from New England, but I've lived in the U.S. Southwest for over twenty years. Place is important to me: I think a lot about how we get to know and care for the places we live and call home and how we can work to be good neighbors. I worked for about a decade as a hiking guide and have also taught environmental education. I now teach geography at New Mexico State University. 

Eric's book list on looking at field guides and atlases in a new way

Eric Magrane Why did Eric love this book?

This atlas beautifully demonstrates how geography is crucial to making sense of patterns and relationships in the world. I sat down and read it cover to cover, though it also would work well as a coffee table book. If you dig maps and data, this book is for you. If you’re interested in design, this book is for you. If you want to really visualize how putting interesting data on a map can help you to look at the world in new ways, this book is for you. Heck, if you’re curious about the world, this book is for you. 

By James Cheshire, Oliver Uberti,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Award-winning geographer-designer team James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti transform enormous datasets into rich maps and cutting-edge visualizations. In this triumph of visual storytelling, they uncover truths about our past, reveal who we are today, and highlight what we face in the years ahead. With their joyfully inquisitive approach, Cheshire and Uberti explore happiness levels around the globe, trace the undersea cables and cell towers that connect us, examine hidden scars of geopolitics, and illustrate how a warming planet affects everything from hurricanes to the hajj. Years in the making, Atlas of the Invisible invites readers to marvel at the promise…


Book cover of Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future

Susan M. Sterett Author Of Litigating the Pandemic: Disaster Cascades in Court

From my list on governing disasters in a changing climate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to everyday experiences in courts. Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, I’ve been writing and teaching about courts, social welfare, and disasters in a changing climate. Following the disasters requires noticing the routine cases filed, not only the notable constitutional claims the United States Supreme Court hears. That can be hard to do, because all the cases filed are not listed in any one place. In the pandemic, my interest in the more ordinary met the databases that people assembled, gathering as best possible the many cases filed about the pandemic.

Susan's book list on governing disasters in a changing climate

Susan M. Sterett Why did Susan love this book?

Fires in Australia in 2019 and 2020 killed billions of animals in a climate disaster. The numbers are impossible to comprehend.

In this beautiful, elegiac book, Dr. Celermajer grieves the losses by telling of one of her beloved pigs. She moves outward to reflect on how individual stories allow us to remember enormous losses. She refuses to tell this story of a climate catastrophe by telling of a few wrongdoers.

In one powerful reflection, she concludes that it is essential if almost impossible to say ‘it is I, it is I’ when speaking of who brought these losses. 

By Danielle Celermajer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I went and sat alone where Jimmy has been lying. It is way down in the bush. The light is soft, the air and the earth are cool, and the smell is of leaves and the river. I cannot presume to know what he is doing when he lies here, but it seems that he is taking himself back to an ecology not wrought by the terror of the fires, not fuelled by our violence on the earth. He is letting another earth heal him.

Philosopher Danielle Celermajer’s story of Jimmy the pig caught the world’s attention during the Black…


Book cover of Pandemic Politics: The Deadly Toll of Partisanship in the Age of COVID

Susan M. Sterett Author Of Litigating the Pandemic: Disaster Cascades in Court

From my list on governing disasters in a changing climate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to everyday experiences in courts. Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, I’ve been writing and teaching about courts, social welfare, and disasters in a changing climate. Following the disasters requires noticing the routine cases filed, not only the notable constitutional claims the United States Supreme Court hears. That can be hard to do, because all the cases filed are not listed in any one place. In the pandemic, my interest in the more ordinary met the databases that people assembled, gathering as best possible the many cases filed about the pandemic.

Susan's book list on governing disasters in a changing climate

Susan M. Sterett Why did Susan love this book?

Sure, people objected to pandemic mitigation measures in other countries. Only in the United States were objections partisan.

This book elegantly relies on public opinion surveys to demonstrate the costs of partisanship in the pandemic. The authors discuss the economy, immigration, and voting. They document the Trump administration’s efforts to make mitigating the pandemic partisan. Masks are not inherently partisan. Our friends in medicine wear them all the time. In parts of Asia, many have used them to limit viruses’ spread.

Even before the pandemic, in the United States, partisanship had become at least as much about personal identity as policy differences. Every personal decision could signal partisanship. By meticulously capturing the pandemic and partisanship, the authors warn of the ongoing difficulties of managing disasters in a divided country.

By Shana Kushner Gadarian, Sara Wallace Goodman, Thomas B. Pepinsky

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How the politicization of the pandemic endangers our lives-and our democracy

COVID-19 has killed more people than any war or public health crisis in American history, but the scale and grim human toll of the pandemic were not inevitable. Pandemic Politics examines how Donald Trump politicized COVID-19, shedding new light on how his administration tied the pandemic to the president's political fate in an election year and chose partisanship over public health, with disastrous consequences for all of us.

Health is not an inherently polarizing issue, but the Trump administration's partisan response to COVID-19 led ordinary citizens to prioritize what…


Book cover of White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism

Liz Conor Author Of Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women

From my list on climate change and race.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a climate activist and later a researcher after my sister and her family lost their home in the Black Saturday fires of 2009 in Victoria. Their bravery and survival is a daily reminder for me, that climate change is upon us, and we are fighting for our lives as well as our children and future generations. Because my research has been focused on colonialism and race their story has opened many questions for me around the history of colonialism and whether it was coal-fired. I’m thinking about what it means for settlers to lose their homes on stolen land, and whether this recognition could prompt us to rethink land ownership, custodianship, and coexistence.

Liz's book list on climate change and race

Liz Conor Why did Liz love this book?

White Skin, Black Fuel is the most clarifying book I’ve read explaining the rise of the far right and how it made climate change an issue of politics rather than physics, of ideology rather than environment.

It has many light touches and is accessible in style, so the reader is guided through the postwar progression of the far-right as principally an anti-immigration platform that then gained, once they had acquired some electoral credibility, the support and funding of fossil fuel corporations to advance their extractivist business models and scuttle any transition to renewables.

It made connections I’d been grasping at for years. 

By Andreas Malm, The Zetkin Collective,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Skin, Black Fuel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In recent years, the far right has done everything in its power to accelerate the heating: an American president who believes it is a hoax has removed limits on fossil fuel production. The Brazilian president has opened the Amazon and watched it burn. In Europe, parties denying the crisis and insisting on maximum combustion have stormed into office, from Sweden to Spain. On the brink of breakdown, the forces most aggressively promoting business-as-usual have surged - always in defense of white privilege, against supposed threats from non-white others. Where have they come from?

The first study of the far right…


Book cover of The Book of Creation

Liz Conor Author Of Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women

From my list on climate change and race.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a climate activist and later a researcher after my sister and her family lost their home in the Black Saturday fires of 2009 in Victoria. Their bravery and survival is a daily reminder for me, that climate change is upon us, and we are fighting for our lives as well as our children and future generations. Because my research has been focused on colonialism and race their story has opened many questions for me around the history of colonialism and whether it was coal-fired. I’m thinking about what it means for settlers to lose their homes on stolen land, and whether this recognition could prompt us to rethink land ownership, custodianship, and coexistence.

Liz's book list on climate change and race

Liz Conor Why did Liz love this book?

This compilation, describing the founding of a new religion that is queer, science-fiction, and climate justice is a mindblowing assemblage of collage artworks by Deborah Kelly, liturgies by author S. J. Norman, poetry and essays.

It features interviews with Kelly and collaborators, photography of the workshops and portraits of followers, regalia, exhibitions, dances, and processions. For those despairing about climate change, this collection is a provocation, an exhortation, and a diversion.

It has been a salve to have by my side as I daily absorb the unfolding climate catastrophe and try and understand and respond to the deepening exclusions and marginalisations and discriminations it entrenches. 

By Deborah Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

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