The most recommended books on the communes of France

Who picked these books? Meet our 38 experts.

38 authors created a book list connected to the communes of France, and here are their favorite communes of France books.
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Book cover of Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods: Images of the Commune

Melusine Draco Author Of The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World

From my list on exploring Ancient Egyptian Magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having first discovered the mystery of ancient Egypt as a small child via my father’s war-time souvenirs, this interest grew over the years until it became a serious magical under-taking, culminating in Initiation into the magical order of the Temple of Khem. I became Principal tutor of the Order in 1998 and published Liber Ægyptius: The Book of Egyptian Magic in the same year. I continue to teach the Egyptian Mystery Tradition to those willing to submit themselves to the exacting discipline needed to enter the priesthood, and remain a member of the Egypt Exploration Society to keep up-to-date with the current archaeological discoveries in Egypt.

Melusine's book list on exploring Ancient Egyptian Magic

Melusine Draco Why did Melusine love this book?

Because of the complexity of the Egyptian pantheon, it is necessary to have a good ‘Who’s Who’ to hand that gives us all the behind-the-scenes scandal and gossip, as well as the genealogy. No one, expert or layman, who reads this book will look at the strange figures of the Egyptian gods in quite the same light again, thanks to The Meekses-Dimitri (Universite de Provence) and Christine (Sorbonne) - who enable us to enter this strange world by observing the daily routines of these divine beings! I have several A-Zs of the Egyptian gods but none can compare with this one…

By Dimitri Meeks, Christine Favard-Meeks, G. M. Goshgarian (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first English translation of a highly appealing volume originally published in French in 1993. Informed by a sense of wonderment at divine doings, it treats the ancient Egyptian gods as if they were an ethnic group that captured the fancy of ethnologists or sociologists.The book begins with a discussion of the gods' community as a society unto itself. The authors describe the structures of the society of the gods and some of the conflicts that frequently upset it, with individual gods acting to protect their own positions in an established hierarchy and struggling to gain power over…


Book cover of The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia

David Leach Author Of Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel

From my list on Israel’s utopian kibbutz movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I dropped out of college to live and work in a socialist commune in Israel, it was mostly to escape a broken heart back home. My memorable experiences as a volunteer on Kibbutz Shamir profoundly shaped how I think about the value of community and inspired me to become a writer. It took me another 20 years to unite these passions by returning to Israel to learn about the past, present, and future of the legendary kibbutz movement—and share my journey of discovery with readers in Chasing Utopia.

David's book list on Israel’s utopian kibbutz movement

David Leach Why did David love this book?

I get professional envy every time I read one of Daniel Gavron’s vivid collections of literary journalism. He is such an attentive observer and compassionate interviewer, and the conversations he preserves on every page bring a diverse range of Israelis to life in all their hopes and fears.

Published at the turn of the millennium, this book is a classic of kibbutz history in which Gavron, a former kibbutznik, travels to communities in various stages of decline or revival. His book inspired my own return to Israel to discover more about the uncertain future of Israel’s utopian movement. I can’t thank him enough for that.

By Daniel Gavron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Israeli kibbutz, the twentieth century's most interesting social experiment, is in the throes of change. Instrumental in establishing the State of Israel, defending its borders, creating its agriculture and industry, and setting its social norms, the kibbutz is the only commune in history to have played a central role in a nation's life. Over the years, however, Israel has developed from an idealistic pioneering community into a materialistic free market society. Consequently, the kibbutz has been marginalized and is undergoing a radical transformation. The egalitarian ethic expressed in the phrase, "From each according to ability, to each according to…


Book cover of Astra: A Novel

Buffy Cram Author Of Once Upon an Effing Time

From my list on living that 60s cult/commune life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up living in a housing co-op on Vancouver Island, BC. While not technically a commune, it did have some of the hallmarks. There were gangs of partially clothed kids roaming wild. There were a bunch of idealistic adults who had dreams of shared land stewardship and, well, shared everything. The housing project succeeded in many ways (it still exists today) and, it failed in other ways (over the years there were many fractures in the community). I’ve always been fascinated by attempts at communal living. I suppose my obsession with cult life is just an extension of this. It is my life imagined one step further.

Buffy's book list on living that 60s cult/commune life

Buffy Cram Why did Buffy love this book?

This novel tells the story of one person, Astrid, who grows up in a dysfunctional failed utopian commune in British Columbia, Canada.

The story of Astrid is told from multiple points of view. Each character paints a different picture of this child-who-becomes-a-woman, at different stages in her life. But what I like most about this book is its exploration of the aftermath of growing up in a failed utopian commune.

How does a person carry this ejected-from-Eden baggage with them over a lifespan? Is it possible to overcome it and fit into “normal” society again? The answers to these questions might surprise you.

Authentically Dead

By Julie Kusma,

Book cover of Authentically Dead

Julie Kusma Author Of The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy and Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by the mind-body-spirit’s impact on our human experience. Especially the aspect of mind, because deep within us resides the shadow-self described by Carl Jung. Most of us spend our lives hiding this part, but it’s there, waiting to pounce. These are the stories I tell, and with my background in Health and Wellness and in Creative Writing, I write paranormal, supernatural, and horror stories containing the simple truths about our human experience. All are designed to bring out the shadow lurking within and expose it to the light. As a counterpoint to these dark tales, I write evocative poetry, uplifting children’s stories, and some educational books with my writing partner, Derek R. King.  

Julie's book list on with plot twists

What is my book about?

A hair-raising, side-splitting supernatural adventure!

In the idyllic town of Pine Port, Kelsey was on the cusp of realizing her dreams. In weeks, she'd clasp her high school diploma and beauty license. Or so she thought, until her life took a supernatural detour, far removed from the ordinary path she'd envisioned before she stumbled upon her extraordinary ability—she could hear and see the deceased as if they were still living.

This wasn’t what she had hoped for and certainly not the kind of beauty treatment she had in mind. Juggling the intricacies of the living was already a challenge, and…

Authentically Dead

By Julie Kusma,

What is this book about?

A hair-raising, side-splitting supernatural adventure!In the idyllic town of Pine Port, Kelsey was on the cusp of realizing her dreams. In weeks, she'd clasp her high school diploma and beauty license. Or so she thought, until her life took a supernatural detour, far removed from the ordinary path she'd envisioned before she stumbled upon her extraordinary ability—she could hear and see the deceased as if they were still living.

This wasn’t what she had hoped for and certainly not the kind of beauty treatment she had in mind. Juggling the intricacies of the living was already a challenge, and now…


Book cover of Faith Driven Entrepreneur: What It Takes to Step Into Your Purpose and Pursue Your God-Given Call to Create

Lowell W Busenitz Author Of Soul Work: Finding God in Your Entrepreneurial Pursuits

From my list on growing your faith at work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been passionate about helping people connect with God through their work. After graduating from college, I worked in full-time minister for six years and then became an entrepreneur. Was I dropping off a spiritual cliff by leaving full-time ministry? I later pursued my PhD and became a professor. At the University of Oklahoma, I became a top researcher and co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurship. The impact of work on my faith has long been an important issue for me. I ultimately gained valuable insights from God that enhanced my spiritual journey. In my book, I explain the profound significance of work for knowing God. 

Lowell's book list on growing your faith at work

Lowell W Busenitz Why did Lowell love this book?

I love participating in the creative process with my work. This book helped me understand that the creative process enables me to bring greater honor and glory to my God. It is helping me to better understand how entrepreneurship provides a great opportunity to commune with God and to know him better through my work.

This book helped me discover the potential God wants to unleash within me through my creative endeavors and can help others flourish. The creative process helps us see something bigger than anything any of us could ever make, that is, to engage with God, who meets all of our needs. 

By Henry Kaestner, J. D. Greear, Chip Ingram

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Faith Driven Entrepreneur as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“I’m excited about Faith Driven Entrepreneur. Anyone who is following the example of their creator God can find echoes of their work in this book.” ―Lecrae

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. But it doesn’t need to be. God has a purpose and a plan for all those entrepreneurial dreams and creative gifts he gave you.

The work you do today―the company you’ve built, the employees you work with, the customers you serve, the shareholders you report to, all of it―serves as an active part of what God wants to accomplish on earth.

You are not alone in this journey.…


Book cover of Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult

Ephraim Author Of Requiem for Betrayal

From Ephraim's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Researcher Adventurer Writer Reader

Ephraim's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Ephraim Why did Ephraim love this book?

The book by Kyle McCord is a deep dive into the psychological nexus that drives young souls into the arms of cults and the cult leaders who exploit them. Once you get the characters worked out between their real names and their cult names, it is very difficult to put down. The cult members morph from bloodthirsty weirdos into real people driven by the same forces that affect the lives of non-cultists.

It helped me put the finishing touches on the adolescent behavior of two of the protagonists in my book. Most importantly, it gave me the background psychology for the evolution of my new book, which is rooted directly in my experience with the Children of God. 

By Kyle McCord,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This gripping drama follows Tom Duncan, the sole survivor of the largest cult mass suicide in U.S. history, as he works to rebuild his shattered life. After a Netflix documentary accuses Tom of masterminding the plot that led to the deaths of one hundred thirty-seven people, including his wife, he finds himself exiled from his home and family. Tom seeks redemption through a weekend memorial with other cult members who escaped before the grisly end.

In Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult by Kyle McCord, we see how well-meaning people seeking spiritual community can become ensnared in webs of…


Book cover of Revolutionary Spring: Europe Aflame and the Fight for a New World, 1848-1849

Jonathan Beecher Author Of Writers and Revolution: Intellectuals and the French Revolution of 1848

From my list on writers and artists in 1848 and the Paris commune.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the failed revolutions of the 19th century and by the romantic socialists, democrats, and nationalists who made these revolutions. I think I have a better understanding of their world and the forces that brought them down than I have of the world I live in. But I do find in their writings remarkable echoes of my own fears and hopes about the future of democracy today.

Jonathan's book list on writers and artists in 1848 and the Paris commune

Jonathan Beecher Why did Jonathan love this book?

This magnificent study of the revolutions 1848 surpasses all the others in its sheer breadth. It makes 1848 a European and, in some respects, a global event. But what I find most appealing about the book is its vividness. The complex narrative is repeatedly punctuated by details and vignettes that bring the past to life.

If you listen to the wonderful audiobook, you will even hear Christopher Clark singing a song on the death of the great German 1848er, Robert Blum.

By Christopher Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Telegraph, Sunday Times, Economist and TLS Book of the Year

'One of the best history books you will read this decade' History Today

An exhilarating reappraisal of one of the most dramatic years in European history, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalkers

There can be few more exciting or frightening moments in European history than the spring of 1848. Almost as if by magic, in city after city, from Palermo to Paris to Venice, huge crowds gathered, sometimes peaceful and sometimes violent, and the political order that had held sway since the defeat of Napoleon simply collapsed.

Christopher…


Book cover of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg Author Of Daughter of a Promise

From Jeanne's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Farmer Introvert Athlete Health-conscious Sarcastic

Jeanne's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg Why did Jeanne love this book?

I was inspired and shocked that it took me this long to find this book. Both because I am beginning my own agricultural journey and because Barbara Kingsolver is an all-time favorite, I loved this book’s calendar-following content and the voice it employs. The family’s pact to eat local and seasonal food for a year is portrayed honestly with humor and joy instead of preachiness.

It speaks to the things we dive into full-bore without completely appreciating how much work it entails. With determination and intentionality, they commune with the land and find a community- truly aspirational. 

By Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L Hopp, Camille Kingsolver , Lily Hopp Kingsolver

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"We wanted to live in a place that could feed us: where rain falls, crops grow, and drinking water bubbles up right out of the ground."

Barbara Kingsolver opens her home to us, as she and her family attempt a year of eating only local food, much of it from their own garden. Inspired by the flavours and culinary arts of a local food culture, they explore many a farmers market and diversified organic farms at home and across the country. With characteristic warmth, Kingsolver shows us how to put food back at the centre of the political and family…


Book cover of The Fireman

S. James McLaughlin Author Of The WVU Coed Murders: Who Killed Mared and Karen?

From my list on cleansing your true-crime palate.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lately, the state of the world is a big factor of negativity and rumination for me. To keep from getting jaded, I have to take periodic breaks from reading the news and researching crime cases. Fiction works as an escape, especially horror, which might sound like ugly-adjacent, but it’s cathartic. The characters aren’t real, so if anything happens to them, it’s not going to affect my psyche the way real families dealing with the murders of their loved ones does. Sometimes a perfectly-solved mystery or a revenge tale is a breath of fresh air compared to the unresolved loose ends of real life. 

S.'s book list on cleansing your true-crime palate

S. James McLaughlin Why did S. love this book?

Joe Hill is a masterful storyteller.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but The Fireman has it all––a pandemic that causes its afflicted to spontaneously combust (called Dragonscale because Spinal-Tap Drummer Disease was too long), a plucky pregnant nurse determined to have a healthy baby in spite of the odds (which includes an unhinged husband and a blood-thirsty post-apocalyptic death squad), a commune that has figured out a way to live with the disease, and a lone wolf that wears a fireman’s jacket who has somehow learned how to control his fire.

The characters are so real they still live rent free in my head. I read it during the COVID lockdown and the parallels were both scary and hopeful. 

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The NUMBER ONE New York Times Bestselling novel

Nobody knew where the virus came from.
FOX News said it had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s.
MSNBC said sources indicated it might've been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation.
CNN reported both sides.
While every TV station debated the cause, the world burnt.

Pregnant school nurse, HARPER GRAYSON, had seen lots of people burn on TV, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the…


Book cover of The Carhullan Army

Fiona Tolan Author Of The Fiction of Margaret Atwood

From my list on dark, dystopian futures written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic and a passionate reader of women’s fiction. My job title, Reader in Contemporary Women’s Writing, is also, fortunately, my hobby. I love to think about how women’s writing explores women’s lives today. I chose the theme of dystopian fiction because The Handmaid’s Tale has been so central to my work. Still, other potential topics that came to mind were motherhood, home and domestic labour, reproductive politics, and feminist protest. It strikes me now that each of the books on my list also cover these topics. This is the element of my work I love – drawing out the connections and political convictions that make today’s women’s writing so powerful.

Fiona's book list on dark, dystopian futures written by women

Fiona Tolan Why did Fiona love this book?

I was recommended this novel by one of my students and loved it instantly. It has all the features you might expect of a dystopia: environmental damage, scant resources, and an authoritarian government controlling where people live, work, and travel.

I research contemporary women’s writing and the history of feminism, and I love Hall’s focus on how future dystopian scenarios might specifically affect women. Facing a world where women’s reproduction is controlled by the state, Hall’s narrator runs away to join a rebel women’s stronghold in the Cumbrian hills.

The experience is anything but gentle and sisterly; Hall is brilliant on both the brutal landscape of the north and the strength and violence of female resistance.

By Sarah Hall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world has changed. War rages in South America and China, and Britain - now entirely dependent on the US for food and energy - is run by an omnipresent dictatorship known simply as The Authority. Assets and weapons have been seized, every movement is monitored and women are compulsorily fitted with contraceptive devices. This is Sister's story of her attempt to escape the repressive regime. From the confines of her Lancaster prison cell she tells of her such for The Carhullan Army, a quasi-mythical commune of 'unofficial' women rumoured to be living in a remote part of Cumbria...


Book cover of History of Florence 1200-1575

Tinney Sue Heath Author Of A Thing Done

From my list on medieval Florence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical fiction set in medieval Italy, in that lesser-known territory somewhere between ancient Rome and the Renaissance. I’m fascinated by the period before the Medici, before Michelangelo, sometimes even before Dante. The seeds of the Renaissance are hidden in that turbulent time, and I love to hunt for them. I also like to write about marginalized people—the obscure, unfamous, forgotten folk plucked from the footnotes. I’m happy to introduce some of the excellent history books that help me do that. These five books are specific to Florence, the city of my heart.

Tinney's book list on medieval Florence

Tinney Sue Heath Why did Tinney love this book?

This concise history of Florence is a great starting point. It traces the evolution of the city from a medieval commune to a republic, covering intellectual, political, cultural, religious, and economic trends and developments over the centuries. Its scope is broad, and one of its strengths is its continuity, as it follows various threads through time. Najemy is a well-known historian of Florence, and this popular history is an excellent resource.

By Najemy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of Florence 1200-1575 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this history of Florence, distinguished historian John Najemy discusses all the major developments in Florentine history from 1200 to 1575. * Captures Florence's transformation from a medieval commune into an aristocratic republic, territorial state, and monarchy * Weaves together intellectual, cultural, social, economic, religious, and political developments * Academically rigorous yet accessible and appealing to the general reader * Likely to become the standard work on Renaissance Florence for years to come