Which books?!

I recently ticked off another year and was absolutely thrilled to be given a £25 Amazon voucher by the lovely Jennie, though my pleasure rapidly vanished when I visited the books section of the Amazon website.

I’d forgotten how horrendous it is to browse there! Browsing in a bookshop is a wonderful experience, where you get to touch the books, pick them up, open them to random pages, get a feel for your potential purchase.

Amazon’s great if you know what you want to buy … but to go in open minded is always a bad plan.

So I’ve decided to cheat!

Have any of you got any recommendations?

I like historical fiction (Rome, Greece, early British/European history, colonial America being the usual suspects), fantasy, light-hearted travel anecdotes, and biographies / autobiographies of people who have something interesting or funny to say.

It’s already been suggested that I try the following:

Any other thoughts?!


15 responses to this post.

  1. Sorry, can’t help you. I’ve read none of the above (though I’ve heard good things about Jitterbug but couldn’t get into it myself). But then I tend to read mostly non-fiction stuff. Just finished The War in the Country: How the Fight to Save Rural Life Will Shape Our Future, by Thomas F Pawlick. IT was a good read.



  2. I haven’t heard of a single one of them! Oh dear, maybe I need to get out to bookshops more, and experiment a little with what I read!

  3. Posted by jan on 10 January 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I’m sorry, I can’t help you with choosing, and I always think books are very personal and there’s just no telling whether another person will like the same books that you do. Good luck with making a choice.

  4. We’ll pass the ‘End of Mr Y’ on to you when it comes back. You might like ‘Transition’ by Iain Banks too.

  5. Posted by Jon Storey on 10 January 2010 at 8:36 pm

    ‘Perfume’ Peter Suskind
    ‘An Instance of The Fingerpost’ Iain Pears
    ‘Letter to Daniel’ Fergal Keene

    That will keep you quiet for a while!

  6. If you like mysteries check out some of the authors on my writing community blog. I’ve read their books and loved them all.

  7. oops meant writing community blog roll…need more coffee

  8. Posted by Bella on 10 January 2010 at 10:05 pm

    You would love CJ Sansom’s reluctant Tudor investigator, Matthew Shardlake. Deeply rooted in the events of the Reformation and a real window into daily life in the age. I couldn’t put them down, and ended up buying them like dominoes. (They’re called Dark Fire, Dissolution, Revelation etc.)

    I’d also recommend the Millennium Trilogy. It’s a wildcard choice, but I have a hunch you’ll love Lisbeth Salander. The three books are adventure/ crime set in Sweden, with a real liberal social conscience. Both the Don and I think they were the best books we’ve read in the past year. They’re called “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” etc. Heavily promoted – and for once rightly so. Only down side is that they.will inevitably be made into movies – and if you read them now you’ll hate the misadaptation! 😉

  9. Posted by Bella on 10 January 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Jon, hate to admit this, but I could not bear “An Instance of the Fingerpost”. Just didn’t get on with it at all, and despite persevering through it miserably twice, couldn’t for the life of me work out whodunit! Only saving grace was that it was set in civil war Oxford.

  10. Posted by Bella on 10 January 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Sorry JoBmS, keep thinking of more. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is incredible and heartbreaking – about how women could be made powerless and forgotten. I also really enjoyed World Without End, Ken Follett’s sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which is a magnificent medieval saga. And looking at some of the choices you’ve set out in the main piece, I think you should try Julian Rathbone. Kings of Albion is about what happens when an Eastern monarch travels to Wars of the Roses England (basically, he thinks they’re barbarians) and is sidesplittingly funny. Finally for a sideways (non-fiction) look, I recommend “A Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England”. It’s a Lonely Planet guide for you, the time traveller, who’s just popped up in the fourteenth century.

    Okay, I’ll stop now! Bella x

  11. Neil Hamilton is amazing for fantasy sci-fi and Shantaram by David Roberts – part autobiography, part travel story of Mumbai slum life and part war story – Afganistan.

    I haven’t heard of any of the above list though either!

  12. Gregory David Roberts – doh!

  13. Read The Guensey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society over Xmas (present from sis in law) and LOVED it. Historical and moving (post WWII).

    Have you read the rather elliptical myth-driven book ‘The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony’? Kinda uses greek/roman myths.

    I’d recommend as well the Boris Akunin tales – a great series set in Russia.

    I’ll keep thinking!

  14. I’ve got the Guernsey Literary etc – I enjoyed it too. I had the Readers’ Digest Condensed editions for a few months, and they were really good for introducing me to new authors and even types of book I wouldn’t otherwise have chosen. And I’ve thought of another one I enjoyed – Ranulph Fiennes’ autobiography, Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know.

  15. Posted by Jon Storey on 29 January 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Jo, hope all is well with you, you have been missed.

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