Recommendations for travel books of England
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I'd love to hear what are your favorite travel books of England.
Better something with sense of humor :)
"Notes from a Small Island" (the Bill Bryson book) is fine if you like his travel writing. Personally, I don't get off on his humour and style, although he reads very easily. I much prefer his other work (science, language), but am probably in a minority.
Can't say that I rate much else of what I've read lately that's been written recently about England - too many seem to be conveyor belt produced or pandering to prejudices (eg Theroux, Bennett, Hawkes, Maconie). Books about the English are better (eg Jeremy Paxman, Kate Fox).
Going back a decade or so, I enjoyed Bettina Selby's "Riding North One Summer", Hamish Brown's "Hamish's Groat's End Walk", and Jonathan Raban's "Coasting", all seeing England (and in the latter two cases other of the home countries too) from particular travel perspectives, but they are not particularly humorous. Going further back, HV Morton's "In Search of England" is a classic. I've just started dipping into David Thomas's "Journey through Britain", which is a doorstopper of a book, but is broken down into very readable small chapters. However, I haven't really had a chance to form an opinion yet.
Hope that helps. Please bear in mind that I am English, so have my own prejudices!!
I'm new to the site so it was a positive experience to see that the forums are so lively.
I'll try to read at least some of these books since I've got enough time until September.
In the meantime I'm working on the itinerary, which is part of the fun of going on a trip.
And for travel books that point you at some of the more interesting stuff you could try I Never Knew That About England (http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=4708602) or the Secret London guide (assuming you're going to London, that is).
I'd probably have to postpone my trip if I was to read them all but at least I have something to get started with :)
I'm going to spend two weeks in England (yes, I'm already aware of the differences between Britain etc.)
during which I'll visit: the Cotswolds, Shporshire, Lake District, York and Cambridge.
Now this is probably enough to make my reading list endless so I'd love to hear your ideas about the books that should be on top of my reading list - including fiction!
But really I would pick out particular regions and look for books about them.
On the north-south divide, I'd just note that southerners care much less about it than the northerners do... I was shocked that both my best mate and my boyfriend told me, they never imagined that they would be best friends/going out with a southerner!!
York, of course, has you on the edge of Bronte country so the choices there are fairly obvious but you might also fancy a literary detour to Whitby for Dracula or Michel Faber's exquisite The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps; Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a 'must', set in Shropshire and Yorkshire, with a delicious scene in York Cathedral; Jill Paton Walsh's 'Imogen Quy' crime series (A Piece of Justice, The Bad Quarto etc) are all set in and around Cambridge University. Happy reading!