96 books like Video Night in Kathmandu

By Pico Iyer,

Here are 96 books that Video Night in Kathmandu fans have personally recommended if you like Video Night in Kathmandu. 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 Nomad: Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

Louisa Waugh Author Of Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia

From my list on the intimate lives of landscapes.

Who am I?

Louisa Waugh is a writer, blogger, and the prize-winning author of three non-fiction books: Hearing Birds Fly, Selling Olga, and Meet Me in Gaza. She has lived and worked in the Middle East, Central and West Africa, and is a conflict adviser for an international peace-building organisation. She blogs at The Waugh Zone and currently lives in Brighton, on the southern English coast, where she kayaks and drinks red wine on the beach, usually not at the same time.

Louisa's book list on the intimate lives of landscapes

Louisa Waugh Why did Louisa love this book?

Isabelle Eberhardt was born in 1877. She was “a crossdresser and sensualist, an experienced drug taker and a transgressor of boundaries”. Born in Switzerland, she crossed the Sahara Desert on horseback dressed as a male marabout, driven by a hunger for nomadic adventures, and for love. Isabelle’s evocative diaries are intense, beautifully written, self-centred and dramatic, occasionally very funny. She fell madly in love with the Sahara, was accused of being a spy, married a young Algerian soldier, and drowned in a desert flash flood at the age of 27. This book is about a short life that burned radiantly and the desiccated landscape that mirrored her intensity.

By Isabelle Eberhardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eberhardt's journal chronicles the daring adventures of a late 19th-century European woman who traveled the Sahara desert disguised as an Arab man and adopted Islam. Includes a glossary. Previously published in English by Virago Press in 1987, and as The Passionate Nomad by Virago/Beacon Press in 19


Book cover of Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres

Tom Lutz Author Of And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit

From my list on travel books for wanderers.

Who am I?

Well before I started writing travel books and novels, I was addicted to travel, to wandering, to being a vagabond. As a teenager I would hitchhike and simply go wherever the driver was headed, roaming as far as possible before turning around in time to get home before dark. As soon as I turned 18, I worked for six months day and night and then took the money and spent a year on a very low-rent tour of some 25 countries. As you will see, my picks here have little or nothing to do with hotels and restaurants, and little to do, except in passing, with sightseeing or sports activity or other common tourist activities. Like my own books, they are interested in people and ideas and, as Rebecca Solnit calls it, getting lost.

Tom's book list on travel books for wanderers

Tom Lutz Why did Tom love this book?

Originally published privately in 1904 for his nieces, it was printed commercially a decade later and has stayed in print ever since. It is a “tour” of the two great cathedrals one from the 11th century and one from the 13th, and both among the wonders of the world. But it is much more: a cultural history of medieval Europe, a sympathetic understanding of the worldview of everyday people of that era, and a reading of some of the great thinkers—Abelard, Aquinas—of that era. He is a great storyteller, and since it is written for his two young relatives, it is not dry or academic, but full of avuncular charm and wisdom.

By Henry Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using architecture, sculpture, culture and history, Adams humanizes the medieval period and provides valuable insight on religious philosophy. Mont-Saint Michel and Chartes provides a background and description of the construction of two French landmarks built in the 11th century. The Mont-Saint Michel cathedral was built during a militant time; it was not enough to simply be steadfast in one's own beliefs, but also to make others believe them. Religious conversion was a form of defense. Mont-Saint Michel was built in a period where faith was aggressive, almost violent, and to accommodate this, Mont-Saint Michel was built in honor of a…


Book cover of In Patagonia

Nicholas Shakespeare Author Of Ian Fleming: The Complete Man

From my list on post-war Latin America.

Who am I?

I am a British novelist and biographer who lived on and off in Latin America from the 1960s to the late 1980s. I was a boy in Brazil during the Death Squads; an adolescent in Argentina during the Dirty War; and a young journalist in Peru during the Shining Path insurgency, publishing a reportage for Granta on my search for Abimael Guzman. I gave the 2010 Borges Lecture and have written two novels set in Peru, the second of which, The Dancer Upstairs, was chosen as the best novel of 1995 by the American Libraries Association and turned into a film by John Malkovich.

Nicholas' book list on post-war Latin America

Nicholas Shakespeare Why did Nicholas love this book?

Neither novel nor travel book, this classic journey defies category.

Purportedly a quest for a scrap of giant slothskin, which the author finds in a cave in southern Chile, it zig-zags through time and space, alighting on travellers from Magellan to Butch Cassidy, while trampling down conventional boundaries.

“Everyone says: ‘Are you writing a novel?’ No, I’m writing a story and I do rather insist that things must be called stories. That seems to me to be what they are. I don’t quite know the meaning of the word novel.” 

By Bruce Chatwin,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked In Patagonia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The book that redefined travel writing' Guardian

Bruce Chatwin sets off on a journey through South America in this wistful classic travel book

With its unique, roving structure and beautiful descriptions, In Patagonia offers an original take on the age-old adventure tale. Bruce Chatwin's journey to a remote country in search of a strange beast brings along with it a cast of fascinating characters. Their stories delay him on the road, but will have you tearing through to the book's end.

'It is hard to pin down what makes In Patagonia so unique, but, in the end, it is Chatwin's…


Book cover of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Who am I?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

This book really got to me because it offers a rich and quixotic history of walking that encompasses the Romantics, the French flaneurs, and a host of other wanderers. In her chapter on San Francisco, Solnit re-maps the space of her home city in a way that outlines her own rediscovery and gave me new eyes to see a place that I love.

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A passionate, thought provoking exploration of walking as a political and cultural activity, from the author of the memoir Recollections of My Nonexistence

Drawing together many histories--of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores--Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers. She profiles some of the most…


Book cover of Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Robert Averill Author Of NeuroAdventures: The Art and Science of Hunting and Gathering Happiness

From my list on peak and transformative human experience.

Who am I?

I’ve always craved outdoor adventure. My earliest preschool memories include frog hunting in the fields behind my house, and careening down hills around the neighborhood on my metal-wheeled skateboard. In middle school, I progressed to BMX, spearfishing and surfing. After college, I added snow and water skiing, windsurfing, and eventually mountain biking to the mix, and was fortunate to have a career that allowed time and resources to travel the world extensively seeking adventure. Now well into my sixties, I research and write about science, extreme sports, nature and philosophy in between daily hikes and mountain bike rides around the homebase and monthly journeys to destinations unknown.

Robert's book list on peak and transformative human experience

Robert Averill Why did Robert love this book?

I have always enjoyed reading a well-written subjective account of my fellow outdoor enthusiasts’ experiences during their chosen adventures. This book took it to another level.

While we all accept that the substantial rewards from our activities can carry substantial risks, we attempt to mitigate these risks whenever possible through experience and sound judgment. But sometimes Nature has her own agenda.

This heart-wrenching saga of a failed Everest expedition reinforced my motivation to prepare for the unexpected and served as a stark reminder that we have to be willing to pay the ultimate price for our rewards. But it also illustrated the fierce determination and selfless heroism that can be found in the human spirit.

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Into Thin Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The epic account of the storm on the summit of Mt. Everest that claimed five lives and left countless more—including Krakauer's—in guilt-ridden disarray. 

"A harrowing tale of the perils of high-altitude climbing, a story of bad luck and worse judgment and of heartbreaking heroism." —PEOPLE

A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. 

By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons…


Book cover of Tiger for Breakfast

Tom Vater Author Of The Devil's Road To Kathmandu

From my list on Nepal and the roof of the world.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and journalist with an eye on South and Southeast Asia. I first visited Nepal in the mid-90s, traveled around extensively, and have returned regularly since. Climbing Gokyo Peak, then crossing the Ngozumpa glacier and the Cho La pass in a storm, was the kind of trip I’m glad to have survived unscathed. I covered the civil war, the plight of Tibetan refugees, and Chinese Belt and Road infrastructure projects. I sat down for an interview with serial killer Charles Sobhraj, subject of the BBC/Netflix series The Serpent and I survived and reported on the 2015 earthquake. I spoke to several travelers who followed the hippie trail from London to Kathmandu in the 60s and early 70s, whose accounts inform the basis of my novel.

Tom's book list on Nepal and the roof of the world

Tom Vater Why did Tom love this book?

Tiger for Breakfast is the illustrious story of a Russian adventurer and nightclub owner, traveler Boris Lissanevitch who opened the first hotel in Kathmandu in 1950. Boris also opened the first mixed-race nightclub in Calcutta and had the first car carried across the Himalayas from India to Kathmandu. His guest list proved remarkable too. Edmund Hillary set off from the Royal Hotel for Everest in 1953 and numerous royals stayed, including Queen Elizabeth. For better or for worse, Boris was a catalyst for the outside world to make inroads into the Himalayan kingdom and Michel Peissel’s book does a great job evoking those early days of travel and exploration on the Roof of the World.

By Michel Peissel,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Snow Leopard

Brooks B. Yeager Author Of Jaguar's Claw

From my list on environmental and cli-fi adventures.

Who am I?

I learned to love nature early, from the tadpoles in the swamps of ‘my’ New York woods to the scarlet tanagers that came through in the spring and the old tilted oak where I sometimes slept. In college in California, I became acquainted with the myriad ways in which we humans are still degrading the natural environment that is the prime source of our worldly and spiritual subsistence. Ever since, I’ve worked to protect the natural world, first as an activist, then a government official, then as a diplomat, and now as I write fictional intrigues set in the world we all need to conserve. I hope you’ll enjoy this latest effort.

Brooks' book list on environmental and cli-fi adventures

Brooks B. Yeager Why did Brooks love this book?

Matthiessen shows you why extraordinary men and women risk their lives and their sanity to meet nature on its own terms, and what they stand to gain by doing so. The story of his expedition to the western Himalayas in pursuit of the elusive snow leopard is full of color and excitement, but that’s not all – the book has many levels. It’s just as much a meditation on our role as humans in the natural world, and in what makes a spiritual life, as it is an adventure. But it’s a hell of an adventure. Matthiessen is a celebrated novelist, and the quality of his writing shows it. As a writer whose fiction is rooted in the environmental struggles of our time, which is how I conceive what I’m up to, he’s an inspiration. 

By Peter Matthiessen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Snow Leopard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A beautiful book, and worthy of the mountains he is among' Paul Theroux

'A delight' i Paper

This is the account of a journey to the dazzling Tibetan plateau of Dolpo in the high Himalayas. In 1973 Matthiessen made the 250-mile trek to Dolpo, as part of an expedition to study wild blue sheep. It was an arduous, sometimes dangerous, physical endeavour: exertion, blisters, blizzards, endless negotiations with sherpas, quaking cold. But it was also a 'journey of the heart' - amongst the beauty and indifference of the mountains Matthiessen was searching for solace. He was also searching for a…


Book cover of Kathmandu

Tom Vater Author Of The Devil's Road To Kathmandu

From my list on Nepal and the roof of the world.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and journalist with an eye on South and Southeast Asia. I first visited Nepal in the mid-90s, traveled around extensively, and have returned regularly since. Climbing Gokyo Peak, then crossing the Ngozumpa glacier and the Cho La pass in a storm, was the kind of trip I’m glad to have survived unscathed. I covered the civil war, the plight of Tibetan refugees, and Chinese Belt and Road infrastructure projects. I sat down for an interview with serial killer Charles Sobhraj, subject of the BBC/Netflix series The Serpent and I survived and reported on the 2015 earthquake. I spoke to several travelers who followed the hippie trail from London to Kathmandu in the 60s and early 70s, whose accounts inform the basis of my novel.

Tom's book list on Nepal and the roof of the world

Tom Vater Why did Tom love this book?

Planning on a trip to Kathmandu? Curious about what makes one of the world’s most fascinating cities tick? Thomas Bell’s 2016 account is the perfect and most concise introduction to the history, culture, religiosity, and recent changes of the capital on the roof of the world. Bell confidently unravels the intricate interplay of caste, tradition, and rigid hierarchy on the one hand, and modernization, tearing into a city that was virtually isolated until 1950 like a bullet train, on the other. Perhaps it’s time for a Nepali writer to publish a panoramic nonfiction view of one of the world’s most fascinating cities, but in the meantime, Bells’ Kathmandu sets the bar high.

By Thomas Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the greatest cities of the Himalaya, Kathmandu, Nepal, is a unique blend of thousand-year-old cultural practices and accelerated urban development. In this book, Thomas Bell recounts his experiences from his many years in the city--exploring in the process the rich history of Kathmandu and its many instances of self-reinvention. Closed to the outside world until 1951 and trapped in a medieval time warp, Kathmandu is, as Bell argues, a jewel of the art world, a carnival of sexual license, a hotbed of communist revolution, a paradigm of failed democracy, a case study in bungled western intervention, and an…


Book cover of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Who am I?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

I borrowed Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim from a friend years back, and instantly fell in love with David Sedaris. 

I could have picked any book by Mr. Sedaris - they are all brilliant and have been hugely influential in my writing journey—but I vividly remember reading the chapter "Six to Eight Black Men", which beautifully illustrates a Dutch Christmas cultural tradition and shows it up in all its whacky weirdness, solely through storytelling and observation. Alone in my bedroom, I remember having to put the book down because I was howling with laughter. 

David Sedaris is the master of pinpointing the ludicrous, seemingly without effort or trying to be funny. 

He is one of my heroes. I think I became a bit obsessed.

By David Sedaris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother's wedding. He mops his sister's floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn't it? In his newest collection of essays, David Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives -- a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the…


Book cover of With Nails: The Film Diaries of Richard E. Grant

Francesca Spencer Author Of Welcome to the State of Kuwait

From my list on capturing culture through observation and humour.

Who am I?

Funny stuff happens all the time in my wafty, solo-travelling life. Sometimes that funny stuff will only become apparent after the proverbial dust has settled and I’m no longer in imminent danger or at my wit’s end: the hilarity of a situation reveals itself when I’m telling the story. Travelling alone puts you in a vulnerable position of being open to ‘the moment’ far more so than when you are travelling with someone else. I get a sense of place and people and write about what happens true to my voice which is intrinsically connected to my funny bone—an intention to capture culture through accurate observation and tragi-comic humour. 

Francesca's book list on capturing culture through observation and humour

Francesca Spencer Why did Francesca love this book?

Apart from being a wonderfully talented actor, Richard E. Grant is a fantastic writer.

This 1996 book is a raw and honest account of his early acting career from landing his springboard role in the cult classic With Nails to working with some of the giants in Hollywood from Steve Martin and Bruce Willis to Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.

Each chapter is a film role, and Grant seems to float through the various hiccoughs and hilarity with a self-effacing charm. His perspective of being the observer, seeing everything from the sidelines; of someone who perhaps shouldn’t really be there, is the essence of his writing.

Richard E. Grant captures the crazy of Hollywood film culture in the narrative and snippets of conversation, nuance of character, situation, and place.

By Richard E. Grant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An exceptionally vivid and penetrating insight into Hollywood film-making ...What most of us want is gossip about stars, and this is something the book delivers in spades ...Qualifies for that exclusive niche reserved for film star memoirs that are worth much more than a casual flick on the bookshop shelf' Jonathan Coe, Observer 'It's a star-packed savagely observed delight, and as a vivid psychological insight into one actor's complete experience of a film, it really does stand alone' Empire 'In these dashing diaries of his recent years in the movies, Grant shares with candour his wonder at this aberrant universe…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the East–West dichotomy, Asia, and Nepal?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the East–West dichotomy, Asia, and Nepal.

The East–West Dichotomy Explore 14 books about the East–West dichotomy
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