100 books like The story of the Paris Metro

By Clive Lamming,

Here are 100 books that The story of the Paris Metro fans have personally recommended if you like The story of the Paris Metro. 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 Mr. Beck's Underground Map: A History

Mark Ovenden Author Of Underground Cities: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet

From my list on subways and urban trains.

Who am I?

Mark Ovenden is a broadcaster, lecturer and author who specialises in the design of public transport. His books include ’Transit Maps of The World’ - an Amazon Top 100 best-seller - and a dozen others covering cartography, architecture, typography, way finding and history of urban transit systems, airline routes and railway maps. He has spoken on these subjects across the World and is a regular on the UK's Arts Society lecture circuit. His television and radio programmes for the BBC have helped to explain the joys of good design and urban architecture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and after many years living in cities like London, Paris, New York and Manchester…now enjoys a more rural life on the Isle of Wight.

Mark's book list on subways and urban trains

Mark Ovenden Why did Mark love this book?

Without doubt the inspiration and key reference work for so many books, websites and studies investigating the design of subway maps. Being one of the only writers on cartography who actually met Harry Beck, Garland was the first to forensically examine the London Tube diagram designed by him. The intimacy of Garlands relationship with beck shines through and informs the whole text. The reader even gets to see some of Becks unpublished works. A simply ‘must have’ for anyone interested in railways, cartography and design in general.

By Ken Garland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Beck's Underground Map as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1998, British hardcover reprint edition (of a work first published in 1994), Capital Transport Publishing, Middlesex, U.K. Handsome oversize oblong format, 80 pages. Incredible b&w illustrations / color maps throughout. In the early 1930's, Britain's Underground was in a bit of a mess. The managing director remembered a suggestion from a 29-year-old engineering draftsman. He had produced an underground diagram which might just solve the technical complexity of the system and even better, please the British public that suddenly could figure out where they wanted to go and how they might get there. Here is the story of how its…


Book cover of Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story

Mark Ovenden Author Of Underground Cities: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet

From my list on subways and urban trains.

Who am I?

Mark Ovenden is a broadcaster, lecturer and author who specialises in the design of public transport. His books include ’Transit Maps of The World’ - an Amazon Top 100 best-seller - and a dozen others covering cartography, architecture, typography, way finding and history of urban transit systems, airline routes and railway maps. He has spoken on these subjects across the World and is a regular on the UK's Arts Society lecture circuit. His television and radio programmes for the BBC have helped to explain the joys of good design and urban architecture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and after many years living in cities like London, Paris, New York and Manchester…now enjoys a more rural life on the Isle of Wight.

Mark's book list on subways and urban trains

Mark Ovenden Why did Mark love this book?

Here is an example of a work that leaves no stone unturned, and does the job properly. There is an excellent introduction on the historical signage of the Subway, a proper explanation of why a new wayfinding system was necessary, the most comprehensive history on why Unimark was chosen to improve the signage and all the images you need of how their 1970 'Graphics Standards Manual' was implemented. Shaw rightly explains the move from the Standard Medium typeface to Helvetica and why it superseded Standard Medium and the fate of the original Unimark system.

By Paul Shaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Helvetica and the New York City Subway System as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How New York City subways signage evolved from a “visual mess” to a uniform system with Helvetica triumphant.

For years, the signs in the New York City subway system were a bewildering hodge-podge of lettering styles, sizes, shapes, materials, colors, and messages. The original mosaics (dating from as early as 1904), displaying a variety of serif and sans serif letters and decorative elements, were supplemented by signs in terracotta and cut stone. Over the years, enamel signs identifying stations and warning riders not to spit, smoke, or cross the tracks were added to the mix. Efforts to untangle this visual…


Book cover of The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever

Mark Ovenden Author Of Underground Cities: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet

From my list on subways and urban trains.

Who am I?

Mark Ovenden is a broadcaster, lecturer and author who specialises in the design of public transport. His books include ’Transit Maps of The World’ - an Amazon Top 100 best-seller - and a dozen others covering cartography, architecture, typography, way finding and history of urban transit systems, airline routes and railway maps. He has spoken on these subjects across the World and is a regular on the UK's Arts Society lecture circuit. His television and radio programmes for the BBC have helped to explain the joys of good design and urban architecture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and after many years living in cities like London, Paris, New York and Manchester…now enjoys a more rural life on the Isle of Wight.

Mark's book list on subways and urban trains

Mark Ovenden Why did Mark love this book?

With a razor sharp eye Wolmar (author of many other excellent books on railway history) concentrates his focus on the machinations of the establishment of the world's first railway built under the ground. Overcoming the travails of unbuilt fantasy concepts, the Victorians fear of the dark, finances and the problems of running steam trains in tunnels, London's City Solicitor Charles Pearson, managed to get the first route, the Metropolitan Railway, built and opened by January 1863. Wolmar unpicks the struggles to expand the line, private capitals, a rush to build more lines and the eventual nationalisation of the system in 1948.

By Christian Wolmar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Revised and updated edition of Christian Wolmar's classic history of the London Underground, with a new chapter on Crossrail.

'I can think of few better ways to while away those elastic periods awaiting the arrival of the next eastbound Circle Line train than by reading [this book].' Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph

Since the Victorian era, London's Underground has played a vital role in the daily life of generations of Londoners. In The Subterranean Railway, Christian Wolmar celebrates the vision and determination of the nineteenth-century pioneers who made the world's first, and still the largest, underground passenger railway: one of the…


Book cover of Das Berliner U- und S-Bahnnetz: Eine Geschichte in Streckenplänen von 1888 bis heute

Mark Ovenden Author Of Underground Cities: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet

From my list on subways and urban trains.

Who am I?

Mark Ovenden is a broadcaster, lecturer and author who specialises in the design of public transport. His books include ’Transit Maps of The World’ - an Amazon Top 100 best-seller - and a dozen others covering cartography, architecture, typography, way finding and history of urban transit systems, airline routes and railway maps. He has spoken on these subjects across the World and is a regular on the UK's Arts Society lecture circuit. His television and radio programmes for the BBC have helped to explain the joys of good design and urban architecture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and after many years living in cities like London, Paris, New York and Manchester…now enjoys a more rural life on the Isle of Wight.

Mark's book list on subways and urban trains

Mark Ovenden Why did Mark love this book?

Don’t worry if you are not fluent in German: this book is packed with images and if you want to understand the way the Berlin U-Bahn system expanded - it is required reading. Gottwaldt was the first person to collect and publish historic maps of the system and reproduction of the maps is exceptional. Starting in 1888 - before the present U-Bahn was conceived - his selection of cartographic delights includes the city’s earliest urban rail lines. The 1896 plan of the ’Nord-Ring’ and ’Sud-Ring’ foretells how the pattern of Berlins current S-Bahn and his example of a 1922 track map exhibits just how extensive railway land was in Europes biggest cities. My favourites are the 1934 and 1936 diagrams which echo the work of Beck in London. If mass transit interests you: find this book!

Book cover of Zazie in the Metro

James W. Morris Author Of Rude Baby

From my list on literary fiction to laugh out loud.

Who am I?

As a kid, I wrote a series of plays with my family as characters. Everyone (even the dog and cat) had lines that demonstrated their quirks, except me—the sane and reasonable one. When I performed these playlets for my mother (performing all parts, since no one else would co-operate) she laughed so hard she cried, and it’s fair to say my subsequent writing career has been an attempt to recapture the feelings that experience generated. Beginning as a joke writer (including a stint working for Jay Leno), I now focus on literary fiction, though humor is always a part of my work.

James' book list on literary fiction to laugh out loud

James W. Morris Why did James love this book?

I bought an English version of this French novel about Paris while actually in that city as a starving backpacker, and have forever associated the wacky joyfulness of the book with the pleasures of that trip. Originally written in a high-energy, idiomatic, slangy, bawdy version of French that scandalized many conservative readers, the plot involves a young country girl named Zazie, obsessed with the Parisian subway system called the Metro, though she’s never seen it. Finally allowed to visit her uncle in the city, she is outraged to find the Metro closed, its workers on strike. She runs away, roaming the crowded city streets, her hilarious extended tantrum not only upsetting her befuddled uncle’s safe and settled lifestyle, but also spreading a generalized craziness throughout Paris. 

By Raymond Queneau, Barbara Wright (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zazie in the Metro as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Impish, foul-mouthed Zazie arrives in Paris from the country to stay with Gabriel, her female-impersonator uncle. All she really wants to do is ride the metro, but finding it shut because of a strike, Zazie looks for other means of amusement and is soon caught up in a comic adventure that becomes wilder and more manic by the minute. In 1960 Queneau's cult classic was made into a hugely successful film by Louis Malle. Packed full of word play and phonetic games, Zazie in the Metro remains as stylish and witty as ever.


Book cover of Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.

Stefanie Wilson Author Of The Backpack Years: Two Memoirs, One Story

From my list on the healing power of travel.

Who am I?

I love travelogues and wrote a dual POV travel memoir with my husband. Travel writing allows us to see the world through others’ eyes, and my favorites are by those who used travel as a way to escape or heal. I’m more invested when I know this person not just wants, but needs this journey. I understand this feeling. I empathize with them, I root for them, and I am happy for them when they reach their destination. I adore Eat, Pray, Love and Wild, and want to recommend five other memoirs that have stayed with me as examples of brave people who left home behind in search of something better.

Stefanie's book list on the healing power of travel

Stefanie Wilson Why did Stefanie love this book?

Jeremy had a career as a crime reporter that had recently turned from exciting to dangerous. He flew to Paris with little money and nowhere to go. Serendipity led him to Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore along the Seine with a perfect view of Notre Dame. 

The owner, George, allowed authors to reside for free at the store, resulting in a continuous rotation of vagabonds searching for purpose, inspiration, or just a bed among the bookshelves. 

I loved meeting this cast of eccentric writers from around the world, finding camaraderie at this literary haven. It reminded me how quickly travelers can bond over a shared experience, and how sometimes a place can be the most interesting and vivid character of them all.

By Jeremy Mercer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Time Was Soft There as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Some bookstores are filled with stories both inside and outside the bindings. These are places of sanctuary, even redemption---and Jeremy Mercer has found both amid the stacks of Shakespeare & Co."
---Paul Collins, author of Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books

In a small square on the left bank of the Seine, the door to a green-fronted bookshop beckoned. . . .

With gangsters on his tail and his meager savings in hand, crime reporter Jeremy Mercer fled Canada in 1999 and ended up in Paris. Broke and almost homeless, he found himself invited to a tea party…


Book cover of Maigret and the Bum

Stephen Holgate Author Of To Live and Die in the Floating World

From my list on neglected mysteries.

Who am I?

From Poe to Conan Doyle and Christie to the hard-boiled school of Hammett and Chandler and modern practitioners such as Louise Penny and Walter Mosely, I can gobble up mysteries like candy. Their appeal lies not only in compelling storylines but in their promise to restore order to our chaotic world, assure us that justice will triumph and evil geniuses will lose to intrepid paladins. As with wines, art, and sex, tastes vary. While reading various lists of great mysteries to jog my memory to make this list, I realized that few of my favorites were even listed, much less among the top ranks. Like a good detective, I’m determined that justice prevails.

Stephen's book list on neglected mysteries

Stephen Holgate Why did Stephen love this book?

Like so many, I’m addicted to this series. Often imitated, never surpassed, Simenon is perhaps the only mystery writer to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was considered by some contemporaries to be the greatest French novelist of his time. Don’t let that put you off. These are great mysteries with an indelible sense of time and place. If the Sherlock Holmes stories can transport me to Victorian London, I can as easily take an absorbing mid-20th century trip to the underside of Paris with Inspector Jules Maigret.

These police procedurals offer unforgettable characters and deep psychological insight. Maigret and the Bum is perhaps my favorite. The bum of the title is a vagrant who has been beaten nearly to death on the banks of the Seine. As Maigret investigates the crime, he finds that the victim was once a highly respected doctor, dedicated to helping the…

By Georges Simenon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maigret and the Bum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Simenon, Georges


Book cover of The Wild Ass's Skin

David Flusfeder Author Of Luck: A Personal Account of Fortune, Chance and Risk in Thirteen Investigations

From my list on luck: winning, losing, and seeing opportunity.

Who am I?

My father, when he consented to talk about all the moments in his life when the odds against his survival were so small as to make them statistically non-existent, would say, ‘I was lucky.’ Trying to understand what he meant got me started on this book. As well as being a novelist, I’m a poker player. Luck is a subject that every poker player has a relationship to; more importantly it’s a subject that every person has a relationship to. The combination of family history and intellectual curiosity and the gambler’s desire to win drove me on this quest.

David's book list on luck: winning, losing, and seeing opportunity

David Flusfeder Why did David love this book?

A young man loses all his money in a Paris casino and goes off to drown himself in the Seine. Before he can do so, he wanders into an antiquarian’s shop of treasures and is offered the skin of the title, a magical pelt that will grant its possessor any wish, but shrink each time, diminishing the possessor’s life force in the process. It’s a moral tale of wish fulfillment and identity, but most of all, it’s a thrilling glittering dark tale of ambition and excess. 

By Honoré de Balzac, Helen Constantine (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Ass's Skin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Who possesses me will possess all things,
But his life will belong to me...'

Raphael de Valentin, a young aristocrat, has lost all his money in the gaming parlours of the Palais Royal in Paris, and contemplates ending his life by throwing himself into the Seine. He is distracted by the bizarre array of objects in a chaotic antique shop, among them a strange animal skin, a piece of shagreen with magical properties. It will grant its possessor his every wish, but each time a wish is bestowed the skin shrinks, hastening its owner's death. Around this fantastic premise
Balzac…


Book cover of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Tyler R. Tichelaar Author Of Vampire Grooms and Spectre Brides: The Marriage of French and British Gothic Literature, 1789-1897

From my list on classic French gothic you probably never heard of.

Who am I?

I’ve always been attracted to the Gothic before I even knew the term. From watching The Munsters as a child to wanting to live in a haunted house and devouring classic Gothic novels like The Mysteries of Udolpho and Dracula, I’ve never been able to get enough of the Gothic. After fully exploring British Gothic in my book The Gothic Wanderer, I discovered the French Gothic tradition, which made me realize how universal the genre is. Everyone can relate to its themes of fear, death, loss, guilt, forgiveness, and redemption. On some level, we are all Gothic wanderers, trying to find meaning in what is too often a nightmarish world.

Tyler's book list on classic French gothic you probably never heard of

Tyler R. Tichelaar Why did Tyler love this book?

You may know this book as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but you probably don’t really know it. Films, most notably the Disney cartoon, have grossly distorted this novel, often having Esmeralda ride off into the sunset with Phoebus. But the novel is really a very dark, Gothic story of love and lust, and one of the first existential novels. Frollo and Quasimodo both love Esmeralda, but she loves Phoebus, and he only loves himself. In the end, everyone dies, allowing their lust to destroy their common sense. Hugo wrote it to help popularize and save Notre-Dame Cathedral from falling into further disrepair. It influenced British author William Harrison Ainsworth to write The Tower of London, thus revitalizing British Gothic in a new way just as it did French Gothic.

By Victor Hugo, Lucy Corvino (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Victor Hugo's great story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame and his unrequited love for the dancer, Esmeralda. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes theme discussions and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom and at home to further engage the reader in the story.


Book cover of Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking

Hilary Sheinbaum Author Of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month

From my list on dry months and dry lifestyles.

Who am I?

I’ve been completing Dry Januarys (and other sober months) since 2017! In turn, I’ve felt more energized, more positive, have experienced better sleep and better skin, among other benefits. I think giving up alcohol for any amount of time is beneficial and I encourage people to try it.

Hilary's book list on dry months and dry lifestyles

Hilary Sheinbaum Why did Hilary love this book?

With recipes from renowned bars all over the world -- including Death & Co in Denver and NYC, Employees Only, The Aviary NYC, Broken Shaker in LA, Everleaf Drinks in London, and Little Red Door in Paris -- the book serves as the ultimate guide to making (and enjoying!) well-balanced non-alcoholic cocktails. The beverages are tasty, visual, creative, and fun to concoct, and will motivate you to stay dry for a month (and beyond).

By Elva Ramirez, Robert Bredvad (photographer),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

90 spirit-free cocktail recipes from leading and lauded mixologists across the country

More than 100 years after Prohibition was enacted, bartenders are actually excited about people not drinking again. From Dry January and alcohol-free bars opening around the country to people interested in abstaining from drinking for better health, the no-proof movement is one of today's fastest-growing lifestyle choices, as consumers become more mindful and re-examine their relationship to alcohol. The no-proof drinker could be anyone, and even traditional bars have taken note with no-alcohol offerings. What do the world's most talented bartenders concoct when they can't use booze? This…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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