Monday, May 1, 2017

Departing England

From the cover of Commodore Hornblower

Yesterday we bid goodbye to April, and thus for me, to Read of England 2017.  I believe I found a good balance between literature and history, though next year I may mix in a few biographies, perhaps with a theme -- Soldier,  Scientist, Statesman Considering that I logged a couple of classics, I'm generally pleased. I didn't quite get around to reading a James Bond tale, though. There are a couple of books not reviewed, though one is on the way.   The only thing I can say about Doyle was how oddly surprised I was to find that his first Holmes story was one-third western.

English Literature
A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle
Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Howard Pyle
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
On the Shoulders of Hobbits, Louis Markos
From Narnia to a Space Odyssey:  CS Lewis and Arthur C Clarke, ed. Ryder Miller,
The Canterbury Tales, Gregory Chaucer. Modern English interpretation provided by Peter Tuttles.

Historical Fiction, set in England:
The Eagle and the Wolves, Simon Scarrow
Hood, Stephen Lawhead

English History
London at War, Phillip Ziegler
Sister Queens: The Tragic, Noble Lives of Catherine and Juana,  Julia Fox
In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible, Alister McGrath
The Armada, Garrett Mattingly
1066: A New History, Peter Rex

With Read of England over, what’s to come in May? Well,  the Discovery of Asia will resume its course, with a little more history incoming. I’ve had a fierce science itch for several weeks now, and am also yearning to return to the Southwest , both in body and in books.  Reading histories and stories from the land of enchantment is easy enough, but I’m hoping to visit the region again personally next spring.   Expect a few English strays and even a Star Trek book in the weeks to come.


  1. Great list of books about England. The various histories look especially inviting. When you return to England reading you might consider Peter Ackroyd and Julian Barnes; plus don't forget Conan Doyle.

    1. I'd planned to read Ackroyd's bio of Thomas More, but ran out of April to do it in! Julian Barnes is a new name, though -- thanks.

  2. I have a surprising number of US related books coming up - considering my focus is mainly Britain & Europe.... [muses] But hopefully I'll manage to fit in my Russia and China triplets before years end!

    1. There's a list of books re: American foreign policy I'd like to pursue, but there are just so many other books. (That list includes The Long Game, Tangled Titans, The Limits of Partnership..)

      Should be interesting to see what you produce -- is it all politics?

    2. It's a mix, history, politics and even some US based crime stuff. It'll take a while to all filter through though. I seem to be going through the 'slow read' thing ATM.

  3. Stephen,

    I have read non of the historical works, but have read four of your English Lit list: Sense and Sensibility just a few months ago. I also read the Doyle and Perelandra, but that was some time ago.

    I also read the Canterbury Tales, but that was for a course in grad school, and therefore in the original Middle English. A year later I reviewed it for my major exam and got the Penguin modern version, but found it lacked something, so I went back and did it again in middle English. So, if I do a reread, it will have to be in Middle English. Got hooked on it somehow for some reason.

    1. I've enjoyed hearing verses of the original recited on Youtube, that's for sure.

  4. an impressive and eclectic list, especially for only one month.... i see H Hornblower there: i devoured all those books and ravaged the world of inferior substitutes as a youngster; great stuff; even better than Patrick O'Brian, imo...

    1. Well, Canterbury Tales was mostly read in March -- Sense and Sensibility was the most 'serious' reading I did in April, the rest being easy fiction or narrative histories. I had to include good ol' Horatio: I read that series through several years ago and frequently rewatch the movies, both the original Peck one and the AE series.

  5. That is a great list.

    I also tend to read a lot of literature and history. I try to sprinkle in some science and other non - fiction too.

    I hope to read 1066 myself in the coming months.

  6. The first year I did a full, month-sized "Read of England", I read almost entirely history; the second time round, I countered with almost all literature. This time I tried to land in the middle. Outside of Read of England, of course, nonfiction is the easy least 2/3rds!


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