3 September 2014

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England

Author: Roy and Lesley Adkins
Year published: 2013 
Pages: 422, including appendices and notes
Time It Took To Read: About a week

I love history/Previously, I've focused on everything pre-1600, but doing a medical history module last academic year fired me up to learn more about social history in more recent eras. I spotted this book in Walkers, my favourite bookshop in the world (except maybe Jarrolds). Support thy local bookshops.

This book is brilliant. It covers every aspect of social life, from marriage, to pregnancy, birth to childhood, going out, being ill, housing, working, and dying. Despite being not THAT long ago, and easily imaginable from the numerous period dramas (note: I hate period drama), the reality is rather harder, colder, starker and at time, insane. The combination of modernish values and proper medieval thinking is startling to read, and doesn't necessarily tally with the idea of Georgian England.

Book count: 42/50

The Last of the Martin Beck series


Author: Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
Translator: Unknown
Series: Martin Beck
Year published: 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975
Pages: Approx 300 pages each
Time It Took To Read: An hour or so each

I also finished the Martin Beck series, several months after first starting it in a Yorkshire hotel. I LOVE this series. I love it's clarity and precision. I love that, without theatrics or fireworks, you are absolutely entwined with the story and unable to put it down. I love how I had to know what was going to happen, even when I didn't think the plot was great. My favourite is probably Cop Killer, out of the entire series, but they're all good. You can read them as standalone, but you get a much better feel for it if you read the whole series.

Book count: 41/50

The Saxon Tales

No pics. Too many damn books. 

Books: The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, The Lords of The North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, Pagan Lord
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Series: Warrior Chronicles
Year published: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013
Pages: Between 350 and 400 each
Time It Took To Read: A few hours each

So, I got married. And in doing so, I forgot how much I read when my shiny Kindle came. Mainly because, to alleviate wedding stress, I re-read THE ENTIRE SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series. What a series it is! Bring on Winds of Winter.

Anyway, before I got married, I read this lot. I love the Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. They were the first fantasy books I read, back when I was about 12. They focus on the deeds of Arthur, and there is magic and Merlin and battles and angry women.

This series is pretty much the same. It covers the world of Alfred the Great, and attempts to be vaguely historically accurate. There is one major problem though. The narrator, one Uhtred of Bebbanburg is an absolute arsewipe. He's a nasty, unlikeable, cocky, vicious twonk. And whereas this is fine in some books because sometimes anti-heros are a good thing, Uhtred is not a good thing. 

As I read, I bitched, and my betrothed asked "Why are you reading them if you hate them so much?" To which the only answer was "I'm a completionist, how do you not know this yet? You don't know me at all. Maybe we shouldn't get married."
Jokes. We did. It was great. 

Book count: 35/50