Janine di Giovanni's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Janine di Giovanni recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Janine di Giovanni's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Travels With Myself And Another

A brilliantly witty and intelligent memoir of the adventures, discoveries, rescues, and narrow escapes of Martha Gellhorn, one of America's most important war correspondents and the third wife of Ernest Hemingway. "Gellhorn is incapable of writing a dull sentence". The Times (London) "Martha Gellhorn was so fearless in a male way, and yet utterly capable of making men melt", writes New Yorker literary editor Bill Buford. As a journalist, Gellhorn covered every military conflict from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam and Nicaragua. She also bewitched Eleanor Roosevelt's secret love and... more
Recommended by Janine di Giovanni, and 1 others.

Janine di GiovanniWell, she’s a hero of mine, even though she was not very nice to other women. She was one of those people. I once interviewed her for The Times and I was so excited. She lived in Wales and I got buses and traipsed across fields and I finally got there and she opened the door and said; ‘I hope you’re not expecting lunch because you’re not getting any.’ (Source)

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The Last Time I Saw Paris

Recommended by Janine di Giovanni, and 1 others.

Janine di GiovanniAh, this is about longing for a life that no longer exists. Elliot Paul was unknown to me until somebody recommended this book, but apparently he was quite a famous American journalist living in Paris in the 1920s, and he did this amazing thing which was to write a biography of a street, Rue de la Huchette. It’s a complete dump now this street, it’s right in a tourist area and full of Greek gyros... (Source)

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A Moveable Feast

Hemingway's memories of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties are deeply personal, warmly affectionate, and full of wit. Looking back not only at his own much younger self, but also at the other writers who shared Paris with him - James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald - he recalls the time when, poor, happy, and writing in cafes, he discovered his vocation. Written during the last years of Hemingway's life, his memoir is a lively and powerful reflection of his genius that scintillates with the romance of the city. less

Mohsin HamidWe think of Hemingway as an American writer, but much of his writing is set outside of the United States, just as much of his life was set outside of the United States. (Source)

Janine di GiovanniThe fact that Hemingway writes it as an old, rather bitter man trapped in his Idaho home with a bullying wife while he dreams of his youth in Paris with his first wife and child is so touching to me. (Source)

Wai Chee DimockThis is a memoir by Hemingway about his time in Paris, which includes sketches of people like F Scott Fitzgerald. (Source)

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The Radetzky March

The Radetzky March charts the history of the Trotta family through three generations spanning the rise and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Through the Battle of Solferino, to the entombment of the last Hapsburg emperor, Roth's intelligent compassionate narrative illuminates the crumbling of a way of life. less
Recommended by Janine di Giovanni, James Meek, and 2 others.

Janine di GiovanniThe quintessential book about the end of the Habsburg empire and the preface to the First World War. (Source)

James MeekA lyrical summoning of a remarkable world, the Austro-Hungarian empire, a balance between multiple ethnoses. (Source)

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The Odyssey

After enduring the Trojan War, Odysseus begins the treacherous journey home to Ithaca. On the way, he faces ravenous monsters and vengeful gods. But the real battle awaits, as his kingdom is under siege by unruly suitors vying for his wife’s hand—and his son’s head. To reclaim his throne and save his family, Odysseus must rely on his wits…and help from the unpredictable gods.

Homer’s The Odyssey was composed around 700 BC. It is one of the earliest epics in existence and remains one of the most influential works of literature today.

Revised edition: Previously...


Ted TurnerWhen I got to college, I was a classics major, and that was mainly the study of Greek - and to a lesser extent Roman - history and culture, and that fascinated me: the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid by Virgil. (Source)

Max PorterI still have an image of Odysseus in my head from when I was a child – he’s very Anglo-Saxon and stubbly, a bit like Michael Fassbender (Source)

Janine di GiovanniThe thing I loved about Ulysses was that he’s so in love with adventure and with love. (Source)

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