The most recommended books about Brazil

Who picked these books? Meet our 79 experts.

79 authors created a book list connected to Brazil, and here are their favorite Brazil books.
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Book cover of Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse

Evonne Blanchard Author Of Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

From my list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science fiction and fantasy children’s book author, who loves everything about space and science fiction. I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I was little; mesmerized by clips of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. As a teenager, War of the Worlds by H.G Wells was my favorite book! My daughter’s complete lack of interest in space inspired me to write a space adventure series. How could I make space entertaining? When it comes to children, I’m a big fan of mixing space facts with a dollop of space fiction, so I hope you will enjoy the collection of books on this list!

Evonne's book list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit

Evonne Blanchard Why did Evonne love this book?

The year is 2113 and Leo Gray is like any other normal science-loving boy. Except for his incredibly embarrassing family of course, who weirdly insists on living and dressing like it’s still 2013! Poor Leo has to wear century-old outfits and live in a house full of ancient clocks and TVs. Meanwhile everyone else zips around on flying cars and wears the latest electronic clothes. Leo is desperate to win a science competition so that he can attend the lunar academy on the moon, but his Dad is equally determined to keep him here on earth. Twists and turns abound. Why are the trees disappearing? What about those mysterious aliens the Lunalings? Leo will uncover the truth. But will he have enough time to save Earth from destruction?

By K.J. Kruk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What kid hasn't dreamed of going to the moon? That dream for eleven-year-old Leo Gray is about to come true-but he's in for the surprise of his life!
In the year 2113, most people live in robotically maintained homes, ride around in self-flying cars, and wear ozone-resistant clothes. Most people that is; just not Leo Gray's parents. They're stuck in the past, and science know-it-all Leo is completely fed up with his beyond-embarrassing living arrangement with them. But when he enters a rocket-building competition for a chance to attend the Lunar Academy, Leo's luck finally seems to turn in his…

Book cover of A Handful of Dust

Garry Craig Powell Author Of Our Parent Who Art in Heaven

From my list on satirical novels to make you laugh... and think.

Why am I passionate about this?

I confess I was a serious little boy and used to be an excessively serious writer. Stoning the Devil, which is about desperate Gulf Arab women, was longlisted for major prizes and hailed by the feminist press. Poignant, even heart-breaking, but hardly a barrel full of laughs—though even then I couldn’t resist some black humour. But when I became a professor of Creative Writing at an American university, I found I’d fallen into a world madder than Wonderland, and realised that the best way to tackle woke insanity was through humour—as the great comedians are doing. Nearly all the best British fiction is humorous, so I started letting out my own zany side.

Garry's book list on satirical novels to make you laugh... and think

Garry Craig Powell Why did Garry love this book?

One of the rare successful tragicomedies. Starting as a witty sendup of the decadent British upper classes, it turns deadly serious in the middle, when John, the young son of Brenda, has an accident while fox-hunting. Because her lover is also called John, she imagines, on being told, that it is her lover who is hurtand thanks God when she discovers that it is her son. Brenda’s distraught husband Tony, the one noble character, mounts an expedition to South America, but instead of finding meaning and redemption, as the reader hopes, a nightmarish fate awaits him. With this novel, Waugh proved himself the greatest British novelist of the inter-war yearsand inspired me, showing me how to mix elements of gravity and tragedy with comedy. 

By Evelyn Waugh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Evelyn Waugh's celebrated tale of decadence and social disintegration, now in a beautiful hardback edition with a new Introduction by Philip Eade

After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last is bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. Brilliantly combining tragedy, comedy and savage irony, A Handful of Dust captures the irresponsible mood of the 'crazy and sterile generation' between the wars. This breakdown of the Last marriage…

Book cover of Ideas and Institutions: Developmentalism in Brazil and Argentina

Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak Author Of The Political Economy of Latin American Independence

From my list on the history of political economy in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Brazilian economist working in Paris and dedicated to historical scholarship. I have always been deeply impressed by the political weight carried by economic arguments across Latin America. Debates on economic policy are typically contentious everywhere, but in Latin America, your alignment with different traditions of political economy can go a long way to determine your intellectual and political identity. At the same time, our condition as peripheral societies – and hence net importers of ideas from abroad – raises perennial questions about the meaning of a truly Latin American political economy. I hope this list will be a useful entry point for people similarly interested in these problems.

Carlos' book list on the history of political economy in Latin America

Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak Why did Carlos love this book?

Kathryn Sikkink brings a political science approach to the study of developmentalism as a policy framework in postwar Latin America.

Rather than rationalizing the ideology of development as the expression of interest group politics, the book interrogates the channels through which ideas find their way into institutional settings, and thence into political action. Contrasting the historical experiences of Brazil and Argentina, Sikkink shows how the same intellectual premises may lead to disparate results when put to work within different national settings.

Ideas do matter, but if they are to succeed, they need to find a hospitable institutional environment – which sheds light on both the possibilities and challenges faced by Latin American nations seeking to shape their own destiny.

By Kathryn Sikkink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Ideas and Institutions, Kathryn Sikkink illuminates a key question in contemporary political economy: What power do ideas wield in the world of politics and policy? Sikkink traces the effects of one enormously influential set of ideas, developmentalism, on the two largest economies in Latin America, Brazil and Argentina.

Introduced under the intellectual leadership of Raul Prebisch at the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America, developmentalism was embraced as national policy in many postwar developing economies. Drawing upon extensive archival research and interviews, Sikkink explores the adoption, implementation, and consolidation of the developmentalist model of economic policy in Brazil and…

Book cover of Tourist Attractions: Performing Race and Masculinity in Brazil's Sexual Economy

Trevon D. Logan Author Of Economics, Sexuality, and Male Sex Work

From my list on understandING the world’s oldest profession.

Why am I passionate about this?

We know that there are markets for “illegal” goods and services, but how do these illegal markets operate? It’s not about who is participating in the market, but about how markets for things that are illegal function. How do you start your illegal business? How do you attract customers? How do you establish a reputation? All of these things are questions that attracted me to the study of male sex work. It is an occupation is thousands of participants. I was excited about the way that male sex work is illegal but also in plain view on the internet.  

Trevon's book list on understandING the world’s oldest profession

Trevon D. Logan Why did Trevon love this book?

In my own work on male sex workers in the US, I found that race played a key role in the market—determining prices and popularity, for example. 

While sex tourism can also play on race and ethnicity and their sexual stereotypes, most countries do not have the American system of race. This book was the one that showed me how male sex workers in another country with racial dynamics similar to those in the US. 

But the biggest takeaway from this detailed ethnography is that sex work is work but also acting—sex workers are providing a service that requires them to play specific roles with their clients, and many times these roles are based on sexual/racial tropes.

Playing into racial stereotypes is one-way sex workers remain in the business.

By Gregory Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

While much attention has been paid in recent years to heterosexual prostitution and sex tourism in Brazil, gay sex tourism has been almost completely overlooked. In Tourist Attractions, Gregory C. Mitchell presents a pioneering ethnography that focuses on the personal lives and identities of male sex workers who occupy a variety of roles in Brazil's sexual economy. Mitchell takes us into the bath houses of Rio de Janeiro, where rent boys cruise for clients, and to the beaches of Salvador da Bahia, where African American gay men seek out hustlers while exploring cultural heritage tourist sites. His ethnography stretches into…

Book cover of The Museum of Lost Love

Michael Kaufman Author Of The Time Has Come: Why Men Must Join the Gender Equality Revolution

From my list on the lives of men in the era of feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My work over the past four decades has been to promote women’s rights, end violence against women, promote social justice, and positively transform the lives of men. I’ve worked extensively with the United Nations; presidents, prime ministers, and governments; companies and unions; NGOs and educators in fifty countries. I continue to be inspired by the many incredible people I get to meet. In addition to my talks to communities, companies, and universities, my activism, and my books on this subject, I also write fiction, most recently my mystery The Last Exit.  

Michael's book list on the lives of men in the era of feminism

Michael Kaufman Why did Michael love this book?

Turning to a novel, here’s a story of a man who visits this fictional museum and sees the mementos and reads the letters of lost love. Far too many are to or by men who have caused others harm. This is not a grim story. It’s about the space that opens up for men to find a truer path to their hearts.

By Gary Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tyler is in therapy. Katia and Goran are in love. On a summer trip to Zagreb, the couple discover an unusual museum that displays mementos of broken relationships. Inside, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen. What follows is a whirlwind summer of reconnecting with lost pasts: Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars, Katia heads to Brazil to find her roots, and Afghanistan veteran Tyler pours out his soul. Set against alternating backdrops of violent circumstances, this novel…

Book cover of State of Wonder

Carol Colatrella Author Of Feminism's Progress: Gender Politics in British and American Literature and Television since 1830

From my list on feminism and women's experiences in science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always enjoyed talking with others about books, including throughout my education at St. John’s College (the Great Books school) and my graduate work. Recently I was able to reunite online with college classmates; during Zoom sessions, we discuss fictions that are meaningful to us. Additionally, as a literature and women’s studies professor at a technological university, I am always looking for interesting texts to discuss with students and to analyze in my research. The books I selected have been book club selections, course readings for my classes in gender studies and in comparative literature, and/or have been the focus of my writing about women and feminism. 

Carol's book list on feminism and women's experiences in science

Carol Colatrella Why did Carol love this book?

I am a fan of Patchett’s novels and especially liked this one about a female Indian-American physician working for a pharmaceutical company whose lover-boss sends her on an adventure to rescue a colleague at their company’s research site in the Amazon.

At the beginning of the book, the protagonist is at a liminal stage in her life: she is not sure about her romantic relationship, about her medical career, or about who she can trust as she undertakes the dangerous journey in South America.

I like the way she gains confidence as she becomes more suspicious of others’ motives, and I hope to convince my book club to read it.

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked State of Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson's work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders' colleague and once a student of…

Book cover of The Complete Essays

Rebecca Kingston Author Of Plutarch's Prism: Classical Reception and Public Humanism in France and England, 1500-1800

From my list on why politics matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a student of the history of ideas, with a particular interest in political thought, for over forty years. I have read countless books, both ancient and modern, and in several languages, that explore themes related to public life. I am a dedicated citizen of a contemporary liberal democracy, but today, I live in fear of a growing backlash against liberal democracy. The risk of democratic backsliding in the contemporary US is real as citizens become more disillusioned with politics. In other liberal democracies, some party leaders are adopting populist rhetoric to enhance their electoral appeal, but in doing so, they are undermining some of the established norms of public life. 

Rebecca's book list on why politics matter

Rebecca Kingston Why did Rebecca love this book?

I love reading Montaigne. Montaigne offers a wide window into the human experience.

He combines a grand knowledge of literary tradition with incredibly insightful commentary on human psychology. His focus on the outlier and the extraordinary in his observations and short essays (e.g., the cannibals in early modern Brazil) challenge our suppositions about the world.

He served as mayor of his local city of Bordeaux for several years, and while he expresses some skepticism toward the good that grand politics can do, he still encourages his readers to seek to better their world in the ways that are available to them.

By Michel de Montaigne, M. A. Screech (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an introduction and notes by M.A. Screech.

In 1572 Montaigne retired to his estates in order to devote himself to leisure, reading and reflection. There he wrote his constantly expanding 'assays', inspired by the ideas he found in books contained in his library and from his own experience. He discusses subjects as diverse as war-horses and cannibals, poetry and politics, sex…

Book cover of The Boys from Brazil

Josh Weiss Author Of Sunset Empire

From my list on hunting and battling Nazi war criminals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in a proud Jewish home, I was instilled with an appreciation for my cultural heritage from a very young age. Today, I am utterly fascinated with the convergence of Judaism and popular culture in film, television, comics, literature, and other media. After college, I became a freelance entertainment journalist, writing stories for SYFY WIRE, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, and Marvel Entertainment. I currently reside in Philadelphia with my wife, Leora, and adorable Cavapoo, Archie.

Josh's book list on hunting and battling Nazi war criminals

Josh Weiss Why did Josh love this book?

This is my favorite book in the world.

In someone else’s hands, the tale of a global Nazi conspiracy to restore the Third Reich to its former glory by cloning Adolf Hitler would probably come off as utter insanity. But Levin makes you believe every word of it, funneling the story through the eyes of Nazi hunter Yakov Liebermann (based on Simon Wiesenthal) and infamous doctor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Josef Mengele.

By Ira Levin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Boys from Brazil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic thriller, Ira Levin imagines Dr Josef Mengele's nightmarish plot to restore the Third Reich. Alive and hiding in South America, thirty years after the end of the Second World War, Mengele gathers a group of former colleagues for a sinister project - the creation of the Fourth Reich. Ageing Nazi hunter Yakov Lieberman is informed of the plot but before he hears the evidence, his source is killed . . .

Spanning continents and inspired by true events, what follows is one of Levin's most masterful tales, both timeless and chillingly plausible.

Praise for Ira Levin:


Book cover of Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

Isaac Getz Author Of Freedom Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business Performance

From my list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it.

Why am I passionate about this?

One remarkable leader I've studied, Bob Davids, said that the greatest scarcity in the world is not oil or food but leadership. For two decades, I've been on a quest to uncover the essence of a transformational leader, someone who cultivates an environment where employees' needs are so well-addressed that they are eager to show up and give their best every day. This journey led me to study hundreds of leaders and books, all serving as the foundation for my thoughts and writings. I trust that these books will kickstart your own journey. Mine has guided me to play a pivotal role in the corporate liberation movement, involving hundreds of leaders who have transformed their organizations.

Isaac's book list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it

Isaac Getz Why did Isaac love this book?

This is the freshest account I’ve read by a leader of his company’s transformational journey: Ricardo Semler became CEO of his father’s company, SEMCO, at the age of 21, and wrote the book in his early thirties, not to forget the transformative journey he just led.

But even more than the narrative itself, I loved Semler’s philosophical reflections, densely packed throughout the book. Example: “We simply don’t believe our employees have an interest in coming in late and doing as little as possible. After all, the same people raise children and elect mayors and presidents. They are adults. In SEMCO, we treat them as adults.”

Semler, twice chosen as Brazil’s businessperson of the year, proves how a leader, driven by authentic beliefs, can lead a transformation that makes people and—consequently—the company thrive.

By Ricardo Semler,

Why should I read it?

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

Book cover of With Broadax and Firebrand: The Destruction of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

John Robert McNeill Author Of Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World

From my list on environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading and writing environmental history since I was trapped indoors on a rainy afternoon nearly 40 years ago and by chance pulled Alfred Crosby’s The Columbian Exchange off a bookshelf. I read it in one gulp (it’s a short book and the rain lingered) and I’ve never been the same since. I regard the environmental as the most fundamental sort of history, because it places humankind and our history in its full context. I love to learn about how humans and their environments affect one another and to read histories that treat both together—because in reality they have always been, and always will be, intertwined.  

John's book list on environmental history

John Robert McNeill Why did John love this book?

Sometimes environmental history is written with passion and outrage, and this is one such case. Brazil’s Atlantic forest is 90% gone now, and Dean explains how, why, and when that happened. He regards it as a tragedy, and his sorrow and anger enliven his writing. You probably know the ongoing story of the shrinking Amazon rainforest. Forest history is a major category within environmental history, and this is one of the best. The impact of Brazil’s leaf-cutter ants, which Dean explains, defies belief.

By Warren Dean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Warren Dean chronicles the chaotic path to what could be one of the greatest natural disasters of modern times: the disappearance of the Atlantic Forest. A quarter the size of the Amazon Forest, and the most densely populated region in Brazil, the Atlantic Forest is now the most endangered in the world. It contains a great diversity of life forms, some of them found nowhere else, as well as the country's largest cities, plantations, mines, and industries. Continual clearing is ravaging most of the forested remnants. Dean opens his story with the hunter-gatherers of twelve thousand years ago and takes…