100 books like The Stone Reader

By Peter Catapano, Simon Critchley,

Here are 100 books that The Stone Reader fans have personally recommended if you like The Stone Reader. 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 The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics

Firmin Debrabander Author Of Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

From my list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration.

Who am I?

I have always loved the Stoics, from the first time I read Seneca. I appreciate that they seek to speak to a wider audience than most philosophers, on issues that concern many: happiness, anxiety, pain, loss. The Stoics were wonderful writers, whose influence has been manifest throughout western philosophy. And they extended their expertise beyond the academy, and were very involved in politics. Seneca was the advisor to the emperor Nero; Cicero, who dabbled in Stoicism, was perhaps the most famous senator of Rome. Marcus Aurelius was emperor. 

Firmin's book list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration

Firmin Debrabander Why did Firmin love this book?

Each chapter in this book wrestles with central themes of Hellenistic Philosophy, which includes Stoicism, but also Epicureanism and Skepticism. The essays are wonderfully written, and deal with pressing eternal problems, such as the political significance of anger, and the nature and pitfalls of physical pleasure. Dr. Nussbaum relates the Stoics and other Hellenistic philosophers to pressing contemporary issues and concerns.


By Martha C. Nussbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics practiced philosophy not as a detached intellectual discipline but as a worldly art of grappling with issues of daily and urgent human significance. In this classic work, Martha Nussbaum maintains that these Hellenistic schools have been unjustly neglected in recent philosophic accounts of what the classical "tradition" has to offer. By examining texts of philosophers such as Epicurus, Lucretius, and Seneca, she recovers a valuable source for current moral and political thought and encourages us to reconsider philosophical argument as a technique through which to improve lives. Written for general readers and specialists, The Therapy…


Book cover of Black Mass

Firmin Debrabander Author Of Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

From my list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration.

Who am I?

I have always loved the Stoics, from the first time I read Seneca. I appreciate that they seek to speak to a wider audience than most philosophers, on issues that concern many: happiness, anxiety, pain, loss. The Stoics were wonderful writers, whose influence has been manifest throughout western philosophy. And they extended their expertise beyond the academy, and were very involved in politics. Seneca was the advisor to the emperor Nero; Cicero, who dabbled in Stoicism, was perhaps the most famous senator of Rome. Marcus Aurelius was emperor. 

Firmin's book list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration

Firmin Debrabander Why did Firmin love this book?

John Gray is an exceptional writer. In that respect alone, he is already reminiscent of the Stoics, who are some of the best writers among philosophers. Black Mass deals with the pitfalls of anger and ideology, when it comes to politics. The Stoics were famously skeptical of both, and urge practitioners to resist becoming too impassioned in political affairs—which reliably roil the soul.

By John Gray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A prophetic warning against the foolishness of crusades, John Gray's Black Mass challenges our belief in human progress.

Our conventional view of history is wrong. It is founded on a pernicious myth of an achievable utopia that in the last century alone caused the murder of tens of millions.

In Black Mass John Gray tears down the religious, political and secular beliefs that we insist are fundamental to the human project, examines the interaction of terrorism, declining world resources, environmental change, human myths of redemption and a flawed belief in Western democracy, and shows us how a misplaced faith in…


Book cover of The Human Condition

Jennifer Banks Author Of Natality: Toward a Philosophy of Birth

From my list on birth, one of our greatest underexplored subjects.

Who am I?

I grew up in a family that was focused on people, poetry, and politics. My parents both worked with children with disabilities in Massachusetts and my mother ran a daycare center in our house. As a reader, student, poet, and then editor, I’ve drawn on those experiences and expectations, and have searched through books looking for their echoes. Since 2007, I've edited books at Yale University Press where I'm currently Senior Executive Editor. I have a BA from Cornell University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I've also worked in various publishing roles at ICM, Continuum, and Harvard University Press.

Jennifer's book list on birth, one of our greatest underexplored subjects

Jennifer Banks Why did Jennifer love this book?

First published in 1958, this is one of Hannah Arendt’s most influential books and in it she attempts to define the human condition in the aftermath of World War II, developing her concept “natality.” 

It’s a challenging book that I’ve wrestled with and argued with and never forgotten. It includes some of her most powerful and frequently cited passages about birth. Lately, I’ve been returning to its opening pages, in which she discusses the launch of Sputnik into space. 

She saw this launch not as an exciting technological breakthrough, but as a fateful repudiation of our earthly existence, an existence that was defined by birth with possibilities and limitations.

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the political thinker Hannah Arendt, "the theorist of beginnings," whose work probes the logics underlying unexpected transformations-from totalitarianism to revolution.

A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then-diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are…


Book cover of St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate

Firmin Debrabander Author Of Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society

From my list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration.

Who am I?

I have always loved the Stoics, from the first time I read Seneca. I appreciate that they seek to speak to a wider audience than most philosophers, on issues that concern many: happiness, anxiety, pain, loss. The Stoics were wonderful writers, whose influence has been manifest throughout western philosophy. And they extended their expertise beyond the academy, and were very involved in politics. Seneca was the advisor to the emperor Nero; Cicero, who dabbled in Stoicism, was perhaps the most famous senator of Rome. Marcus Aurelius was emperor. 

Firmin's book list on stoic themes, influence and inspiration

Firmin Debrabander Why did Firmin love this book?

Karen Armstrong’s book on St Paul –her second—is wonderful. It takes into account recent scholarship on the historical Paul, and in accessible fashion, explains what was controversial about his agenda, and what was likely omitted or edited out of his work. Paul’s mission was influenced in no small part by the prevalent Stoic thinking—above all, cosmopolitanism: Paul was a cosmopolitan, literally, a citizen of no place—but of the universe itself. And central to his understanding of Jesus’ teaching, Paul wished to wash away the parochial distinctions that divide us. Hence the baptismal cry he advised: no more Greek or Jew, man or woman, master or slave!

By Karen Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

St Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history.

It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for…


Book cover of Dave Barry's Greatest Hits

Sam Bowring Author Of Sam, Jake and Dylan Want Money: A Badly Behaved Comedy

From my list on which claim to be funny, but actually are.

Who am I?

As a stand-up comedian myself, I find a lot of so-called funny books to be hugely disappointing. In these days of authors wanting their amazing works listed in every possible category on Amazon, you often find books in the humor sections which have severely mistaken ‘a somewhat light tone’ or ‘occasional moments of levity’ for being actual comedies. And don’t even get me started on the reams of literotica with covers featuring musclebound torsos that fill up any search for something supposedly funny. Kindly f*ck off, writers of the latest Billionaire Bad Boy Romance—you do not belong here. Instead, here are some books that will actually make you laugh.  

Sam's book list on which claim to be funny, but actually are

Sam Bowring Why did Sam love this book?

A collection of American humorist Dave Barry’s newspaper columns, which I’m often re-reading and laughing a great deal. Definitely ‘of it’s time’ in parts (aka a bit dated), but it also contains plenty of general observations about life, family, and defending your home against tornados. A good one for the loo, as shaking with laughter might help you ‘move things along’. 

By Dave Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dave Barry's Greatest Hits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Dave Barry is on the loose, no one is safe!

What Dave Barry did for the men’s movement in his Complete Guide to Guys and for foreign relations when he did Japan he now does for . . . everything in America. The rapacious observer of Tupperware ladies and leisure concept salesmen sounds off on:

Football—Football is more than just a game. It is a potential opportunity to see a live person lying on the ground with a bone sticking out of his leg, while the fans, to show their appreciation, perform “the wave.”

Sailing—There’s nothing quite like getting…


Book cover of Hearts Unbroken

Christina Berry Author Of The Road Home

From my list on Native romance by Native authors.

Who am I?

I am an award-winning author of sex-positive contemporary romance and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. As a reader, I’ve grown weary of Native American romance characters who are mostly caricatures and stereotypes. Last year, I went on a quest to find romance stories that portrayed contemporary Native characters experiencing love as they navigated real life in the 21st century. And who better to tell those stories than Native authors using their own voice? Now that I’ve found several great Native romance authors, I want to share these recommendations far and wide. Come, come, read Native romance!

Christina's book list on Native romance by Native authors

Christina Berry Why did Christina love this book?

This is one of the best Native books I’ve ever read. As a white-passing Native who lived away from the tribe, I really identified with Louise Wolfe’s experience as one of the few Native families in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. Lou’s struggle against racism on a macro and micro scale is relatable, and the story is wonderfully rewarding. It's a must-read.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hearts Unbroken as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Winner of an American Indian Youth Literature Award

New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in…


Book cover of The Ventriloquists

Reese Hogan Author Of Shrouded Loyalties

From my list on cross-dressing women in wartime.

Who am I?

As a nonbinary trans guy, I grew up obsessed with novels about women disguising themselves as men. I loved everything about the trope, and always felt disappointed when they had to go back to living as women. It is a trope I eagerly embraced when I wrote Shrouded Loyalties, and though I didn’t yet know the term “transgender,” I was already exploring my own gender identity through my reading and writing of this theme. The books I’ve chosen to highlight here are ones that became some of my very favorites, and also feature action-packed wartime settings like the one used in Shrouded Loyalties.

Reese's book list on cross-dressing women in wartime

Reese Hogan Why did Reese love this book?

Based on a true story, this book was a treasure of a find, detailing the rebellion of artists in Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1943. Helene, a girl disguised as a male newspaper hawker, is only a side character – a cog in the machine of the farce newspaper being published by the rebels – but her incredible voice brings the movement to life, while expertly weaving in her own questions about gender and sexuality in a world she’s not sure has a place for her. The author later came out on the nonbinary spectrum as well, which really brought home for me how many of us explore our identities through our writing before coming to terms with significant truths about ourselves.

By E. R. Ramzipoor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“[A] remarkable saga.... Engrossing.” —Booklist, starred review

In this triumphant debut inspired by true events, a ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters risk everything for an elaborate scheme to undermine the Reich.

The Nazis stole their voices. But they would not be silenced.

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network that publishes dissident underground newspapers.

The Nazis track down Aubrion’s…


Book cover of Freddy and the Bean Home News

Jonathan B. Baker Author Of The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy

From my list on reads before—or after—you learn antitrust law.

Who am I?

After college, I studied economics and law. Working in antitrust lets me use what I’ve learned about both fields. I’ve been a professor at a law school and a business school and worked on competition issues while serving in senior government positions in multiple federal agencies, including both antitrust agencies. I also like working in antitrust because fostering competition is important to our economy. Competition encourages firms to pursue success by developing and selling better and cheaper products and services, not by coordinating with their rivals or trying to exclude them. And I like antitrust because the cases can involve any industry—I might learn about baby food one day and digital platforms the next.  

Jonathan's book list on reads before—or after—you learn antitrust law

Jonathan B. Baker Why did Jonathan love this book?

This is the tenth in a charming series of children’s books about Freddy the Pig and the other talking animals on the Bean farm that began in the early 20th century, two decades before Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Freddy has been called a renaissance pig—a detective, poet, pilot, newspaper editor, and much more. 

In this story, the rapacious owner of the local newspaper employs various underhanded tactics to shut down the rival paper edited by Freddy. The scheme is thwarted when Freddy’s lawyer, Old Whibley the owl, convinces a judge that the would-be monopolist engaged in “kidnapping, theft, and conspiracy in restraint of trade.”

As is evident, by the 1940s, when the book was published, antitrust was recognized in popular culture as the legal tool for protecting the victims of unfair competitive tactics—which is still how we see it today. 

By Walter R. Brooks, Kurt Wiese (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freddy and the Bean Home News as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Freddy the multitalented pig publishes a newspaper for the animals on Bean Farm.


Book cover of Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

Jass Richards Author Of Too Stupid to Visit

From my list on funny bits to make you laugh out loud.

Who am I?

Years ago, when I went to Montreal to get my Master's degree in Philosophy, I decided to become a stand-up comic at the same time. I soon realized that I had a lot more fun coming up with the funny bits than I did being ignored or heckled while on stage delivering them. So I became a sit-down comic. (Well, a sprawled-on-the-couch comic.) I've since written and published several novels, which contain a lot of funny bits, but I decided, in addition, to publish the leftover or funny-on-their-own bits in a separate book. Hence, Too Stupid to Visit.

Jass' book list on funny bits to make you laugh out loud

Jass Richards Why did Jass love this book?

I discovered The Onion late in life as well, and also through their website. Which, yes, I have bookmarked as well—I love most just their headlines. And discovered, again, they'd actually published a book of headlines! 'Nuff said.

By The Onion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


From The Birth Of A Nation To The Death Of Journalism

Since its founding by a bloodthirsty tyrant in 1756, The Onion has not merely changed the way we think about the news -- it has changed whether we think about the news at all. As the first decade of this new millennium draws to a close, Our Front Pages shows us the first thing that presidents, kings, prime ministers, and popes saw when they opened their eyes each morning for the last 21 years. Now you, the common reader and citizen, can see what they saw and be as…


Book cover of In Praise of Idleness: The Classic Essay with a New Introduction by Bradley Trevor Greive

Carl Honoré Author Of In Praise of Slow: Challenging the Cult of Speed

From my list on slowness.

Who am I?

Writer, broadcaster, speaker. I used to be stuck in fast forward, rushing through life instead of living it. I finally realised I needed to slow down when I started speed reading bedtime stories to my son: my version of Snow White had just three dwarves in it! I went on to slow down – and became, in the words of CBC Radio, “the world's leading evangelist for the Slow Movement.”

Carl's book list on slowness

Carl Honoré Why did Carl love this book?

Published in 1932, this essay hails from an era long before side hustles, smartphones and social media. And yet it still feels fresh and relevant today. Russell saw the cult of work as a form of social control – you keep people down by keeping them working. His view that more time for leisure would create a kinder, gentler society chimes with the Slow philosophy. In Praise of Idleness is a delicious paean to the art of doing things – or nothing at all – for the sheer joy of it.

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bertrand Russell is considered “the Voltaire of his time,” and Bradley Trevor Greive is considered one of the funniest people of his. Russell was a Nobel Laureate, and Greive is a New York Times bestselling author. Together, with Russell bringing the philosophy and Greive bringing the hilarious commentary, this book is a classic.

In his celebrated essay, In Praise of Idleness, Russell champions the seemingly incongruous notion that realizing our full potential―and thus enjoying the greatest possible success and happiness―is not accomplished by working harder or smarter, but through harnessing the extraordinary power of idleness.

Russell’s penetrating insights and exquisite…


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