100 books like The Year That Changed Our World

By Agence France Presse,

Here are 100 books that The Year That Changed Our World fans have personally recommended if you like The Year That Changed Our World. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Fell: A Novel

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

One of the first novels set in COVID times, The Fell, by British author Sarah Moss, is presented from the perspective of four neighbours living in an English village over the timespan of a single night in the winter of 2020. The narrative charts their experiences and reflections on life as they struggle with boredom, loss of employment, having to work and learn from home, and feelings of isolation and claustrophobia. One of the characters simply can’t take it anymore and leaves her home during a period of mandated quarantine. These people care about and watch over each other as best they can, but the feelings of being under surveillance are strong. A dark but compelling read, masterfully written.

By Sarah Moss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A slim, tense page-turner . . . I gulped The Fell down in one sitting.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of The Pull of the Stars

From the award-winning author of Ghost Wall and Summerwater, Sarah Moss's The Fell is a riveting novel of mutual responsibility, personal freedom, and the ever-nearness of disaster.

At dusk on a November evening, a woman slips through her garden gate and turns up the hill. Kate is in the middle of a two-week mandatory quarantine period, a true lockdown, but she can’t take it anymore—the closeness of the air in her small house, the confinement. And…


Book cover of Creative Resilience and COVID-19: Figuring the Everyday in a Pandemic

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

This edited volume, by academics Irene Gammel and Jason Wang from Ryerson University, Canada, includes contributions from authors living across the world. The chapters focus on how the arts and culture can both express and document people’s thoughts, practices, and feelings about living through the COVID pandemic. There are discussions on the role of drawing, graphic fiction, cinema, diary writing, urban space, music, streaming services, film, and video conferencing platforms in helping people cope with COVID life. Reading the book provides insights into the different social, cultural, and geographical contexts in which the pandemic has been experienced and how people adjusted to the often very stressful conditions of lockdown, restrictions on movements, fear about their health and grief.

By Irene Gammel (editor), Jason Wang (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Creative Resilience and COVID-19 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Creative Resilience and COVID-19 examines arts, culture, and everyday life as a way of navigating through and past COVID-19. Drawing together the voices of international experts and emerging scholars, this volume explores themes of creativity and resilience in relation to the crisis, trauma, cultural alterity, and social change wrought by the pandemic.

The cultural, social, and political concerns that have arisen due to COVID-19 are inextricably intertwined with the ways the pandemic has been discussed, represented, and visualized in global media. The essays included in this volume are concerned with how artists, writers, and advocates uncover the hope, plasticity, and…


Book cover of Life Without Children: Stories

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

Life Without Children is a collection of ten short stories by Irish author Roddy Doyle. Nearly all the stories are set in Dublin and feature characters who are middle-aged or older men who are struggling to find a sense of purpose in their lives while confined to their homes during lockdowns. Some men lash out in anger at their partners. Others make the best of things, finding moments of intimacy and connection and forging stronger relationships with their adult children and wives. One of the few stories to be written from the perspective of a woman features a nurse who is shattered by the deaths from COVID of her patients. The stories in this collection are often bleak, but there are many poignant and even droll moments.

By Roddy Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Without Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[Doyle] imparts a sense of poignancy and glimpses of happiness, of grief and loss and small moments of connection . . . you're left feeling close to dazzled." -Daphne Merkin, New York Times Book Review

A brilliantly warm and witty portrait of our pandemic lives, told in ten heartrending short stories, from the Booker Prize-winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Love and marriage. Children and family. Death and grief. Life touches everyone the same. But living under lockdown, it changes us alone.

In these ten beautifully moving short stories written mostly over the last year, Booker Prize winner…


Book cover of Covid Chronicles: A Comics Anthology

Deborah Lupton Author Of COVID Societies: Theorising the Coronavirus Crisis

From my list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a sociologist with a longstanding interest in the social aspects of medicine and public health. I started with research on HIV/AIDS. Since then, I have written many books and conducted a multitude of studies on how people understand and experience health and illness and how they seek help when they are sick or feel at risk from disease. When COVID-19 hit the world in early 2020, it was not long before I started to think about what my research training and expertise could offer to understanding the social impacts of this new pandemic. I started to write about COVID and research on people’s everyday experiences.

Deborah's book list on everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Deborah Lupton Why did Deborah love this book?

The COVID Chronicles is an anthology of graphic fiction about COVID life. The dozens of contributors are mostly based in the US but also come from Australia, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Asia. There are a dizzying array of art styles and tones across the collection, from humorous to darkly grim. Together, all the graphic narratives reveal the ups and downs of pandemic life in the early months of COVID: from dealing with loneliness, unemployment, illness, and death, transitioning to working from home, racism, and the Black Lives Matter protests to seeking opportunities to show love, care, connection, and hope.

By Kendra Boileau (editor), Rich Johnson (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees. When we weren't sheltering in place, we were advised to wear masks, wash our hands, and practice social distancing. We watched in horror as medical personnel worked around the clock to care for the sick and dying. Businesses were shuttered, travel stopped, workers were furloughed, and markets dropped. And people continued to die.

Amid all this uncertainty, writers and artists from around the world continued to create comics, commenting directly on how individuals, societies, governments, and markets reacted to the worldwide crisis. COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology collects more…


Book cover of Exiles

Nubar Alexanian Author Of Stones In the Road: Photographs of Peru

From my list on the poetry in documentary photographs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a documentary photographer for the past 50 years and my work has been featured in major magazines in the United States and Europe including The New York Times Magazine, Life, Fortune, Geo, Time & Newsweek, and others. I have six books in print, including JAZZ with Wynton Marsalis & Nonfiction Photographs with filmmaker Errol Morris. I love teaching photography and co-founded the Essex Photographic Workshop in 1975. My work is in many collections, including The Peabody Essex Museum, The Worcester Art Museum, Polaroid Collection, Agfa Corporation, Participant Productions, Bose Corporation, Bibliotheque Nacionale, France. Solo exhibitions of my work include the Walker Art Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Burden Gallery.

Nubar's book list on the poetry in documentary photographs

Nubar Alexanian Why did Nubar love this book?

There’s an image of a large white horse standing above a man who’s kneeling in front of him, gesturing toward the horse’s face with one hand. He is having a conversation with this horse, trying to convince him of something. It’s one of the most beautiful photographs ever! On another page is a fully feathered chicken being dried out, hanging upside down from a clothesline in what appears to be a field of wheat.  It’s astonishing how beautiful this image is. Josef Koudelka is one of the great masters of photography who has taught us all how to see the mystery and awe in places we walk by every day. Through his work, Koudelka has shown me the breadth and depth that photography embraces.

By Josef Koudelka,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

About Exiles, Cornell Capa once wrote, Koudelka's unsentimental, stark, brooding, intensely human imagery reflect his own spirit, the very essence of an exile who is at home wherever his wandering body finds haven in the night. In this newly revised and expanded edition of the 1988 classic, which includes ten new images, Koudelka's work once more forms a powerful document of the spiritual and physical state of exile. The sense of private mystery that fills these photographs mostly taken during Koudelkas many years of wandering through Europe since leaving his native Czechoslovakia in 1968 speaks of passion and reserve, of…


Book cover of The Last Roll

Nubar Alexanian Author Of Stones In the Road: Photographs of Peru

From my list on the poetry in documentary photographs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a documentary photographer for the past 50 years and my work has been featured in major magazines in the United States and Europe including The New York Times Magazine, Life, Fortune, Geo, Time & Newsweek, and others. I have six books in print, including JAZZ with Wynton Marsalis & Nonfiction Photographs with filmmaker Errol Morris. I love teaching photography and co-founded the Essex Photographic Workshop in 1975. My work is in many collections, including The Peabody Essex Museum, The Worcester Art Museum, Polaroid Collection, Agfa Corporation, Participant Productions, Bose Corporation, Bibliotheque Nacionale, France. Solo exhibitions of my work include the Walker Art Center, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Burden Gallery.

Nubar's book list on the poetry in documentary photographs

Nubar Alexanian Why did Nubar love this book?

I own five signed copies of this book which I loan out to young photographers. The lesson in this book of documentary photographs is the irrelevance of information and the importance of emotion. In this way, Jeff’s work redefines photography by expanding the very notion of what a documentary photograph is….and can be. In 2004 Jeff was diagnosed with lymphoma. Soon afterwards Kodak discontinued the production of Kodachrome, the film his entire visual vocabulary was based on and now was gone forever. What do you do when confronted with physical and creative mortality? The Last Roll, by Jeff Jacobson, is an amazing response to this question. 

By Jeff Jacobson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A few days before Christmas, 2004, I was diagnosed with lymphoma," writes Jeff Jacobson in his preface to The Last Roll. The NY Times LENS Blog described Jacobson as "pushing the visual boundaries of photojournalism" in this work providing a first-person depiction of a cancer patient's changing perspectives on life, death, art, and the world at-large.

A former Magnum photographer known for his quirky style, Jeff Jacobson was one of the first art photographers to use color film exclusively. For his 1991 book My Fellow Americans he traveled the country, capturing the look and mood of a decade. Over time,…


Book cover of Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls and Masks

Mitch Cullin Author Of Tideland

From my list on to summon the off-kilter beauty of the grotesque.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm Mitch Cullin, or so I've been told. Besides being the ethical nemesis of the late Jon Lellenberg and his corrupt licensing/copyright trolls at the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd., I'm also a documentary photographer, very occasional author of books, and full-time wrangler of feral cats.

Mitch's book list on to summon the off-kilter beauty of the grotesque

Mitch Cullin Why did Mitch love this book?

The black-and-white images of Ralph Eugene Meatyard have long fascinated me and informed my visual work and writing. Meatyard was, by profession, an optician in Lexington, Kentucky, yet his personal passion was making photographs. His subjects were his wife, children, and family friends, who he often posed in murky settings as they wore masks and held dolls. These images are both disquieting and euphonious, tapping into something primal that hints at the secretive world of childhood.

By Eugenia Parry, Elizabeth Siegel, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (photographer)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ralph Eugene Meatyard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Family man, optician, avid reader and photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard created and explored a fantasy world of dolls and masks, in which his family and friends played the central roles on an ever-changing stage. His monograph, The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, published posthumously in 1974, recorded his wife and family posed in various disquieting settings, wearing masks and holding dolls and evoking a penetrating emotional and psychological landscape. The book won his work critical acclaim and has been hugely influential in the intervening decades. Dolls and Masks opens the doors on the decade of rich experimentation that immediately preceded…


Book cover of Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

Marlene Adelstein Author Of Sophie Last Seen

From my list on by and about strong-willed, independent women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reader, I’m drawn to characters and subjects I can relate to. Strong women who go their own way, ones who march to their own drummer. There is a raw honesty to their stories with subjects of creativity, grief, and loss. And as a writer of both fiction and personal essay, I write about these same issues as well, subjects I seem to turn to again and again. When I write, I try to tap into the emotions that might be buried but I’m always looking to move my readers whether it’s with tears or laughter, and the women in the books I chose do that for me. 

Marlene's book list on by and about strong-willed, independent women

Marlene Adelstein Why did Marlene love this book?

Hold Still by Sally Mann – another memoir by an intriguing, strong-willed, fascinating woman. I became interested in Sally Mann when I first saw her book of amazing photographs of her children, Immediate Family. Since then I kept up with her photography and was thrilled to read her memoir. She writes of her childhood in the south, her parents, her relationship with her husband and children, the controversy surrounding those early stages photographs, her career, and beyond in absolutely lovely prose accompanied by many photos. She’s an impressive, talented woman, and her success is well deserved.

By Sally Mann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This National Book Award finalist is a revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.

In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her.

Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications,…


Book cover of A Way of Seeing: Photographs of New York

Mick Gidley Author Of The Grass Shall Grow: Helen Post Photographs the Native American West

From my list on American photography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a hopeless photographer. But I have a passion for looking at photographs, for trying to understand how good ones work. They are not just momentary slices of life but structured artefacts, sometimes technically interesting, that in myriad ways reflect the society that produced them. I studied aspects of US cultural history at three universities. After devoting the first part of my academic career to American literature, in the second half – during which, supported by wonderful fellowships, I spent much time rooting in archives – I gave myself up to American photography. I have learnt much from each of the books I commend here. 

Mick's book list on American photography

Mick Gidley Why did Mick love this book?

Women photographers have all too often been overlooked or forgotten. (This happened to the subject of my own book choice, Helen Post.) But Helen Levitt – who really flourished from the 1940s through the 1960s and is now undergoing something of a renaissance – has always had devotees. Steichen invited her to contribute to The Family of Man and one of her most notable admirers, James Agee, the novelist, poet, film critic, and documentarian, was pleased to write the insightful essay to A Way of Seeing. Levitt’s quirky pictures of street life – especially those featuring children, often at play – document quite ordinary customs at a particular moment. Despite never seeming intrusive, they get up close, reveal the photographer’s rapport with her subjects, and present them, so to speak, on the level. Ultimately, these images are so expressive that they become universal, transcending the period in which they…

By Helen Levitt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taken over a number of years beginning in the early 1940s, the 51 photographs in this book -- many of them of children and of the poor, many taken in Harlem -- reveal the face of the city as it was and are an enduring image of existence as this artist sees it. The accompanying essay by James Agee is both a commentary on the pictures and an eloquent statement of the nature of the creative act and what it means or the art of photography.


Book cover of Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style

Laura T. Di Summa Author Of A Philosophy of Fashion Through Film: On the Body, Style, and Identity

From my list on people who overthink their look.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I spent hours marveling at my father’s collection of ties. In love with tailoring, he taught me the meaning of “sprezzatura” and the joys that come from thinking of clothes as a part of yourself. Fashion returned to me as I studied philosophy, art history, and film. It took a few years, but then it just became clear to me that I had to talk about it. So I started writing, curating, and experimenting a bit more. I always say that fashion is a verb: my work is to explore what It can do, whether by curating a show, writing articles, or perusing local boutiques in my travels.

Laura's book list on people who overthink their look

Laura T. Di Summa Why did Laura love this book?

In 2015, Shantrelle P. Lewis curated Dandy Lion at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. This book is about that exhibition, the photographs displayed, and the stories of the people photographed.

It is, for me, a gorgeous example of fashion’s relation to our individual and social identities. It is a way of touring the intimate as well as the political through images of the Black Dandy. Colors, cuts, sartorial details, and poses all come together in a book that is as informative to read as it is a pleasure to look at. 

By Shantrelle P. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Suits that pop with loud colors and dazzling patterns, complete with a nearly ubiquitous bowtie, define the style of the new "dandy." Described as "high-styled rebels" by author Shantrelle P. Lewis, black men with a penchant for color and refined fashion, both new and vintage, have gained popular attention in recent years, influencing mainstream fashion. But black dandyism itself is not new; originating in Enlightenment England's slave culture, it has continued for generations in black cultures around the world. Now, set against the backdrop of hip-hop culture, this iteration of dandies is redefining what it means to be black, masculine,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in fine art photography, documentary photography, and France?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about fine art photography, documentary photography, and France.

Fine Art Photography Explore 22 books about fine art photography
Documentary Photography Explore 14 books about documentary photography
France Explore 894 books about France