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Books NON wine related


I didn’t know of that. Must organise a visit! thanks


Definitely worth a visit. The ship is fully rigged though the cannon are wooden replicas. If you can catch their resident historian he was fascinating and took a lot of time out to chat to me. Learnt some very interesting stuff.

For example apparently Thomas Cochrane (model for Jack Aubrey) chose to have a small captain’s cabin with the guns kept in place so he could clear for battle faster. Or that merchant sailors were actually quite happy to get pressed from civilian ships as the navy food was better and as they were crewed for both sailing and fighting, most of the time there was much less work to do as compared to a merchant ship that was only crewed for sailing. And the reality is that the number of sailors killed in battle was a tiny percentage compared to those killed by storm, foundering, shipwreck, injury or sickness.


So many books to mention, but since I’ve seen a few mentions of clever fantasy / sci fi, I want to pass on a recommendation I got from someone else, but I have really enjoyed

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin (aka The Fifth Season trilogy after the first book in the series)

Amazing story-telling

On a COMPLETELY different note, I also loved Home by Amanday (Mandy) Berriman - a hard-to-read story of life from the perspective of a 4yo girl (what an amazing voice to maintain through the whole book)


And should you be interested in Irish authors I must mention Niall Williams, and my particular favourites of his books “As it is in Heaven” and “Four Letters of Love”. Very lyrical and beautiful writing.


I have restarted the Shardlake stories. Love historical fiction by CJ Sansom, Conn iggulden, Bernard Cornwell, James Clavell, Robert Harris.
@Leah, it took me years to read the Hobbitt and Lord of the Rings. They are different to the films and worth consideration


If you’re interested in Powell, my husband recently read a two-part piece about him in the LRB, both by Perry Anderson. The first part is a comparison of Powell and Proust, and the second part is about Powell’s history and how it impacted his writing.
Mind you, my husband found both pieces over-wrought and far too long, so it’s a recommendation with a caveat… :grinning:


Thanks for that, @Inbar - I’ve just located part one of that but it will need a (free) registration to pursue. I may well come back to it to take a look.

As we are talking books, Perry Anderson is the brother of the late Benedict Anderson, whose book “Imagined Communities” is a fascinating read on the rise of the modern concept of the nation. Anyone who has vaguely wondered why the British national anthem doesn’t appear to be a national anthem at all by modern standards will find the reason here, in passing.


Reciprocating the ‘thanks’! :grinning: Have just ordered Imagined Communities on Amazon. It sounds like a fascinating book from the precis, and having just finished Viking Britain I’ll have the head-space for it.

A few years ago I read a book called On Politics, by Alan Ryan - which started a fascination with the whole subject of how we govern ourselves best, what is a nation etc, so Anderson’s book will hopefully home-in on some of these questions too. Thanks for the recommendation! :+1:


It’s taken fifty plus years to germinate, but I’m interested in the history of Austro-Hungary. Probably started when I first visited Czechoslovakia in 1967 (school trip.) I’ve been reading novels by Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March and 1002 Nights for instance, affectionate looks back at the empire from the harsher post-WW1 world. Then I read Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday which I’d highly recommend. Zweig was born in the 1880s in a wealthy bourgeois, Jewish family in Vienna and became a very successful writer, wedded to the liberal idea of European internationalism that was almost destroyed by the First World War. Then he saw the rise of fascism that, by 1938, meant that he lost his German speaking readership. He tried Britain and the US as adoptive homes, became a British citizen, ended up in South America. He committed suicide in 1942, seeing no future for European civilisation.


I ought to read this. Bee Wilson was the Masterchef contestant in 1999 who beat me to a place in the semi-final! She didn’t get to the final but has carved out a career for herself in cookery writing.


How cool! It’s a very interesting book.


Sounds wonderful - thanks so much for the tips. Will endeavour to follow up :ok_hand:


Mallmann on Fire https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1579655378/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_iYtJBb8RJ40J1

Occasionally I read fiction, but can mostly be found exploring reference and similar books. Currently fascinated by what could be seen as ‘extreme cookery’. This includes Francis Mallmann, who even has a recipe for grilling a whole cow…butterflied!!


I read a lot of crime fiction - favourites would be the late great Robert B Parker and Robert Crais. Special mention for Thomas H Cook who is a beautiful writer, who effortlessly draws you in and usually has a surprise at the end.


are the Thomas Cook books a good holiday read ?! :laughing:


I used to be a voracious reader, sometimes a book every 2-3 days.
Invariably crime or adventure fiction.
I have almost never read a biography
And wine tomes by the yard or metre.
These days, I subscribe to Audible and carry a veritable library around with me on my smartphone.
Lazy, hands up, guilty as charged and no argument.
Lee Child and John Sandford, also JK Rowling in all of her guises!! lol
On a train or plane, earphones in (I did buy a fancy set of headphones but not even in public!!) and I am away with the fairies.
As a ten year old I was in and out of my local library 2 or 3 times a week.
The knowledge that was imparted, the use of grammar etc served me well.
And I learned to read and comprehend at pace, which has done me no harm at all.


Sir Terry of Pratchett (sadly now late)
That is all.


In the historical naval fiction line have you read Julian Stockwin or David Donachie?
And military Allan Mallinson.


Ace Atkin’s Quin Coulson is a little more “down home” but suits.
And if you dip as far as the hard boiled/bitten private US eye then Parker’s Spencer and Crais’ Cole’ll draw you in.


Ah, hadn’t got this far when I posted. I’ve packed a couple of these for travel reading :slight_smile: