100 books like Walking Through Spring

By Graham Hoyland,

Here are 100 books that Walking Through Spring fans have personally recommended if you like Walking Through Spring. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Voyage of the Beagle

Glynis Ridley Author Of The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe

From my list on famous sea voyages we think we know, but don’t.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember the first time I stepped onto a sailing ship and that was the full-size replica of the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, London. The younger me descended below decks and started to imagine the enormity of risking everything on an expedition into the unknown. Since that time, I’ve become an eighteenth-century scholar, able to channel my wonder at the age of sail into researching, teaching, writing, and broadcasting about many aspects of the period. I hope the books on this list help you journey all over the globe with a sense of what it was like to trust your life to a self-contained floating world heading into unchartered waters. 

Glynis' book list on famous sea voyages we think we know, but don’t

Glynis Ridley Why did Glynis love this book?

One of the things I love about this book is that it takes us back to 1831, when Darwin was just an obscure 22-year-old, following his passion for natural history by embarking on what would be a five-year circumnavigation of the globe. I get the impression he would be a fascinating, if exhausting, travelling companion since he is relentlessly curious about everything and everyone he sees.

My favorite chapter is on the Galápagos archipelago because Darwin is trying to do descriptive justice to the unearthly basaltic lava landscape, as well as unique flora and fauna. I find there’s an immediacy to his writing which gives me the sense of looking over his shoulder as he describes all the elements of unfamiliar ecosystems, trying to puzzle out what they can possibly mean. 

By Charles Darwin,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Voyage of the Beagle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction by David Amigoni.

Charles Darwin's travels around the world as an independent naturalist on HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836 impressed upon him a sense of the natural world's beauty and sublimity which language could barely capture. Words, he said, were inadequate to convey to those who have not visited the inter-tropical regions, the sensation of delight which the mind experiences'.

Yet in a travel journal which takes the reader from the coasts and interiors of South America to South Sea Islands, Darwin's descriptive powers are constantly challenged, but never once overcome. In addition, The Voyage of…


Book cover of My Family and Other Animals

Ayser Salman Author Of The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in

From my list on new worlds that made me feel less like an outsider.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Iraq, and grew up mostly in the Southern United States—with a brief stint in Saudi Arabia. My father taught me the importance of books and reading. And I found it was the best way to escape from the constant fish-out-of-water feeling that followed me through my nomadic childhood. I grew up, and grew out of those feelings… most of the time. But I never outgrew reading and I still love when a book sucks me in and makes me lose myself completely. These are a few of those books. 

Ayser's book list on new worlds that made me feel less like an outsider

Ayser Salman Why did Ayser love this book?

I was nine and still getting used to life in America after moving from Iraq five years prior, when my family moved us to Saudi Arabia. Scared and lonely, I felt more like an outsider than ever before and reading became my solace. I discovered this hilarious book and instantly fell in love with it; mainly because it depicted the author’s dysfunctional British family during their time living abroad in Corfu. In addition to the humor that naturally comes from “fish out of water” stories, it was the first time I’d read a literary account about a family as colorful as mine. It encouraged me to view my family not as a source of annoyance (as I’d been doing prior to that point) but as a source of entertainment.

By Gerald Durrell,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked My Family and Other Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration behind ITV's hit family drama, The Durrells.

My Family and Other Animals is Gerald Durrell's hilarious account of five years in his childhood spent living with his family on the island of Corfu. With snakes, scorpions, toads, owls and geckos competing for space with one bookworm brother and another who's gun-mad, as well as an obsessive sister, young Gerald has an awful lot of natural history to observe. This richly detailed, informative and riotously funny memoir of eccentric family life is a twentieth-century classic.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics…


Book cover of Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

Telmo Pievani Author Of Imperfection: A Natural History

From my list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Telmo Pievani is Full Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padua, where he covers the first Italian chair of Philosophy of Biological Sciences. A leading science communicator and columnist for Il corriere della sera, he is the author of The Unexpected Life, Creation without God, Serendipity, and other books.

Telmo's book list on the fact that evolution didn't predict us

Telmo Pievani Why did Telmo love this book?

I loved this book because I think it is a masterpiece on the contingency of evolution and our presence.

Rewind the tape of life and times and you will get different endings: that’s a great message of freedom for me. The epic of diversity that led to the explosion of multicellular life forms in the early Cambrian concerns us too. Unmissable.

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wonderful Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived-a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.


Book cover of The Troubled Man

David Norman Author Of Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on stretching your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teacher and researcher my primary interest has been focused on the natural history, biology, functional mechanics and interactions between animals through time. Observation and interpretation are keys to my approach, and my little book about dinosaurs explores the range and variety of ways in which science can take observations (the bare fossil bones) and lead to science-based interpretations of what those bones mean. Similarly, the books that I enjoy relate, thematically, to that interest in observation and interpretation/understanding: ranging from attempting to understand the deep history of animal life, to a boy exploring Corfu or even a fictional detective observing and attempting to interpret the scene of a crime.

David's book list on stretching your imagination

David Norman Why did David love this book?

I love good writing, and I love the escapism provided by detective and spy thrillers. Choosing between so many quality authors: Le Carré, Dexter, James, Rankin, Nesbo, etc. is almost impossible and completely unfair. However, the series of Wallander novels by Mankell is one of my favourites. I have chosen the final book in the series – but obviously you should start with the first! As with most detective stories, Mankell’s hero has a messy life, his father doesn’t understand him (and vice-versa), his wife has left him, he has a hit & miss relationship with his only daughter, but in this novel you can feel that Wallander’s life is slowly, but perceptibly, unravelling. The key events that are the focus of this tale become more and more apparently contradictory and complex and at times the tension is almost palpable. It must be difficult for novelists to draw a close…

By Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every morning Hakan von Enke takes a walk in the forest near his apartment in Stockholm. However, one winter's day he fails to come home. It seems that the retired naval officer has vanished without trace.

Detective Kurt Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation but he has personal reasons for his interest in the case as Hakan's son is engaged to his daughter Linda. A few months earlier, at Hakan's 75th birthday party, Kurt noticed that the old man appeared uneasy and seemed eager to talk about a controversial incident from his past career that remained shrouded in…


Book cover of Beloved Exile

Catherine Wells Author Of Macbeatha

From my list on legendary characters from the British Isles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student in library science, I stumbled across an entry on Macbeth in a biographical dictionary. It stated he was actually a good king who ruled for seventeen years. Furthermore, he claimed the throne in his own name and that of his wife. I was hooked. I did extensive research trying to find the man behind the legend, and how the tale got twisted into what Shakespeare gave us. From Celtic, Norse, and English sources, I extrapolated the culture of 11th-century Scotland, and a man who might well have been the historical high king Macbeatha.

Catherine's book list on legendary characters from the British Isles

Catherine Wells Why did Catherine love this book?

One of the key characters in the Arthur legends is Guenevere, and nowhere does she become more real than in Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile. In post-Roman Britain, after Arthur’s defeat by the Saxons, a mature and bereft Guenevere is taken captive by a Saxon thane. Keeping her identity secret, she struggles through life as a slave in her enemy’s household. Yet, in her soul, she is still a queen and cannot bear to see her nation torn by treachery and internal conflict. She becomes attached to the Saxon family she now serves and discovers that, in order to preserve Arthur’s legacy, she must make allies of her enemies.

By Parke Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A novel about Guenevere.


Book cover of Sherwood

Catherine Wells Author Of Macbeatha

From my list on legendary characters from the British Isles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student in library science, I stumbled across an entry on Macbeth in a biographical dictionary. It stated he was actually a good king who ruled for seventeen years. Furthermore, he claimed the throne in his own name and that of his wife. I was hooked. I did extensive research trying to find the man behind the legend, and how the tale got twisted into what Shakespeare gave us. From Celtic, Norse, and English sources, I extrapolated the culture of 11th-century Scotland, and a man who might well have been the historical high king Macbeatha.

Catherine's book list on legendary characters from the British Isles

Catherine Wells Why did Catherine love this book?

I will read anything by Parke Godwin. His command of language and his talent for bringing history to life won me over from the first book. In Sherwood, he takes on Robin Hood, whose legend is compiled of stories collected over a 200-year period. Godwin sets the story a hundred years prior to the legend, in the time of William the Conqueror. Sherwood gives us the life of a brash young Saxon landholder, displaced by the conquerors, who leads a guerrilla resistance from Sherwood Forest. It also paints a sympathetic young sheriff of Nottingham, who starts as Robin’s foe but grows to admire the outlaw—and falls in love with his wife Marian.

By Parke Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forced from his home by Norman invaders, young Edward Aelredson, Thane of Denby, takes refuge in the forest Sherwood, where, with sword and bow, he bedevils the usurping king and comes to be called "Robin Hood." Reprint.


Book cover of Firelord

Catherine Wells Author Of Macbeatha

From my list on legendary characters from the British Isles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a graduate student in library science, I stumbled across an entry on Macbeth in a biographical dictionary. It stated he was actually a good king who ruled for seventeen years. Furthermore, he claimed the throne in his own name and that of his wife. I was hooked. I did extensive research trying to find the man behind the legend, and how the tale got twisted into what Shakespeare gave us. From Celtic, Norse, and English sources, I extrapolated the culture of 11th-century Scotland, and a man who might well have been the historical high king Macbeatha.

Catherine's book list on legendary characters from the British Isles

Catherine Wells Why did Catherine love this book?

This is perhaps my favorite historical novel ever, not only because of Godwin’s evocative prose (“Half a baby in a ditch.” Brrr!), but because it contains an extended section on the “little people,” the mound dwellers who predated the Celts in Britain. These people became the fairies, elves, and gnomes of legend, but in Firelord they are the last of a dying culture, trying desperately to survive in a changed world. They capture a wounded Arthur, and as they take him underground, the author’s voice alters radically. It brilliantly captures the alien nature of the mound dwellers and their hypnotic effect on Arthur. Only after Arthur leaves them behind does it return, like Arthur, to something familiar.

By Parke Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Artorious Pendragon, a young warrior-king destined to unite the shattered land of Britain, reaches unattainable heights, only to lose his heart and his kingdom to the greatest betrayal of all. Reprint.


Book cover of Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788

Daniel Szechi Author Of 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion

From my list on the Jacobite Risings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired history professor with over forty years experience working in the field of eighteenth-century history and Jacobitism in particular. I got interested in Jacobitism when I was an undergraduate and the more I have researched and written on the subject the more fascinated I have become with it. By reading about it you can glimpse the alternatives to the present that might have been. What if the great Jacobite rising of 1715 had succeeded? What if Bonnie Prince Charlie had marched south from Derby and captured London in 1745? The permutations are endless and will certainly keep me engaged for the rest of my life.

Daniel's book list on the Jacobite Risings

Daniel Szechi Why did Daniel love this book?

One of the greatest ‘what-ifs?’ of the Jacobite movement centres on the English Jacobites and the fundamental question of why they were so politically important within the movement and yet so useless in terms of achieving a Stuart restoration. 

England was the most powerful of the three kingdoms of the British Isles and a major section of the Tory party, the most popular party in England, episodically developed a yearning for such a restoration. Yet it never took off. Monod’s classic book explores English Jacobitism in admirably fine and lucid detail and provides the best answer we are going to get.

By Paul Kleber Monod,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jacobitism and the English People, 1688-1788 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although historians have devoted much attention to the influence of Jacobitism on Parliamentary politics, none has hitherto attempted to explore its broader implications in English society. Paul Monod's acclaimed study, newly available in paperback, redresses this, and offers a wide-ranging analysis of every aspect of Jacobite activity.


Book cover of A Cheesemonger's History of The British Isles

Marc Millon Author Of Italy in a Wineglass: The Taste of History

From my list on food and wine that take you places and allow you to travel in time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been researching and writing about wine, food, and travel for over 40 years (my first book, The Wine and Food of Europe, co-authored with my photographer wife Kim Millon, was published in 1982). I love to travel, I love to eat, and I love to drink wine. Most of all, I am interested in placing food and wine within a cultural and historical context. I have a weekly podcast, “Wine, Food, and Travel with Marc Millon,” which allows me to explore these topics by speaking directly to people. I hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I do.

Marc's book list on food and wine that take you places and allow you to travel in time

Marc Millon Why did Marc love this book?

I love cheese, and I love how British cheeses have reinvented themselves as dairy farmers have been forced to diversify in order to keep in business.

This fascinating book has taken me on a journey around the British Isles and in time and place from the Stone Age and the Roman era, the influence of Monasteries, the post-war industrial boom, to right now, and the renaissance of traditional farmhouse artisan cheesemaking.

I love this book because it does not just outline British cheeses; it is also the human story of the people who handcrafted them. Best of all, I can actually find and purchase some of these cheeses to enjoy while reading the book!

By Ned Palmer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Cheesemonger's History of The British Isles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Shortlisted for the Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards for 2019

'A beautifully textured tour around the cheeseboard' Simon Garfield
'Full of flavour' Sunday Times
'A delightful and informative romp' Bee Wilson, Guardian
'His encounters with modern-day practitioners fizz with infectious delight'
John Walsh, Sunday Times

Every cheese tells a story. Whether it's a fresh young goat's cheese or a big, beefy eighteen-month-old Cheddar, each variety holds the history of the people who first made it, from the builders of Stonehenge to medieval monks, from the Stilton-makers of the eighteenth-century to the factory…


Book cover of The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650

Nicholas J. Higham Author Of King Arthur: The Making of the Legend

From my list on the origins of King Arthur.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a university historian and archaeologist my focus has been the Early Middle Ages. In the 1990s I wrote several books about the fifth and sixth centuries which barely mentioned Arthur but popular histories and films based on his story just kept coming, so I decided to look again at his story and work out how and why it developed as it did. I have published three well-received books on the subject, each of which builds on the one before, plus articles that have been invited to be included in edited volumes. I disagree with much in the five books above but collectively they reflect the debate across my lifetime. It is a great debate, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nicholas' book list on the origins of King Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Why did Nicholas love this book?

John Morris was an ancient historian specializing in the later Roman Empire who late in life turned his attention to Dark Age Britain. I only met him very briefly at a conference in the mid-1970s, by which time he was already very ill. He wrote by far his best-known work while presiding over the translation of a host of source materials for early medieval Britain and their publication by Phillimore, all the time fighting his own battle against cancer. He didn’t just accept Arthur as a real historical figure but made him the pivotal figure of British history in the decades around 500, accepting as authoritative all sorts of stories written many hundreds of years later. In so doing he was largely responsible for bringing the Arthurian Period of British history into existence and certainly gave it enormous popular appeal. Rarely has one writer had such an impact on a…

By John Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A lifetime's scholarship enabled John Morris to recreate a past hitherto hidden in myth and mystery. He describes the Arthurian Age as 'the starting point of future British history', for it saw the transition from Roman Britain to Great Britain, the establishment of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales from the collapse of the Pax Romana. In exploring political, social, economic, religious and cultural history from the fourth to the seventh century, his theme is one of continuity. That continuity is embodied in Arthur himself: 'in name he was the last Roman Emperor, but he ruled as the first medieval king.'


5 book lists we think you will like!

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