What book are you reading at the moment?

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #15789

    Chris
    Participant

    Ok, this is not an original idea for a topic. In fact I have seen this several times, namely on WW1 and WW2 forums but I thought what the heck, I might as well try it here and see what you folks are reading at the moment. As we are in the new 'Entertainment' board, why not tell us what YOU are reading at the moment. What you are reading doesn't have to be related to history or even British history for you to post your current book of choice here, just whatever book you have on the go at this very moment whether paperback, hardcover, kindle, internet article etc. etc.Will be interesting to see what everyone is reading.......so be honest even if you are reading a biography of the Spice Girls!!! Ok, maybe don't own up to that  ;)So, I'll go first..........At the moment I am reading An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge) by John O'Farrell. It sounded funny so thought I'd give it a go. Apart from the stupid and, at times quite annoying and totally unfunny fake conversations between Celts and later between Saxons (I am only up to Alfred the Great so far), there have been some genuinely funny moments, breaking down the basics of British history into comic and easily digestible humour, some parts funnier than others. I am sure it's not going to be everyone's cuppa tea though. It does skip large chunks of history but this is not a comprehensive history. It tries to find some of the more memorable or well-known slices of history such as Alfred the Great burning the cakes and make it more memorable by tossing in cheap jokes. There are, however, some very interesting facts all the same so while it has been funny at times it has also been informative......I just wish it didn't have the dodgy conversations, which to me, lowers the quality of the text considerably.British history and humour combined.....i'll give it a 6 out of 10 (so far.....this could go up or down).I also have Britain AD: A Quest for Arthur, by Francis Pryor because I never finished it the last. And by the way Jamie, I don't think it is as bad as you say it is....but that is a different conversation  ;)

  • #18846

    kellsray
    Participant

    I am reading a non-history book at the moment:Barbara Kingsolver “Animal Dreams”  Nice for a light read, more a womans books, I'd say.Kells Ray

  • #18847

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

    I just got a box set of all the A song of ice and fire books, so I'll be reading them. I'm also reading Conan the Barbarian. And for my historical pursuits I am reading 'A history of medicine' by Douglas Guthrie. So far Conan has been brilliant and 'A history of Medicine' has been interesting to say the least.

  • #18848

    Chris
    Participant

    I just got a box set of all the A song of ice and fire books, so I'll be reading them.

    I eventually managed to get round to reading the first installment and have the second ready to read on my Kindle after I get through the two I have on the go at the moment. I have a feeling I won't get through the second and third before the new series starts in Spring.I also have another book I haven't started yet called The Origins of the British by Stephen Oppenheimer. Has anyone read this? "A new prehistory of Britain and Ireland from ice-age hunter gatherers to the Vikings as revealed by DNA analysis". Seemed like an interesting read although it did get mixed reviews.

  • #18849

    HayleeB
    Participant

    I have a few books on the go at the moment-I am reading the second in one of my favourite series, Diana Gabaldon' Outlander series-Dragonfly in Amber. Its a historical fiction based around the second Jacobite uprising, but its also a bit fantasy/romance. I have read the series a number of times, and decided to start again having just done another trip to Scotland including visiting Culloden field.I am also reading Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire-have read a few of her books before but have never got around to this one. I keep trying to get through Dickens' A child's history of England but never seem to get very far

  • #18850

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'm currently reading Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman, who happens to be my favorite author of historical fiction.  It tells the story of Richard I's crusade to the Holy Land (the sequel, A King's Ransom, which deals w/ his return, capture, etc. is not due out until 2014).  The thing I like about Sharon is that she really does her research, so I can trust that her history is correct (to the extent that it is known), which makes her characters more believable.

  • #18851

    kingjabo
    Participant

    I'm reading a Babylon 5 related autobiography of Claudia Christian. Though really don't have enough time to play football manager, xbox 360, look up history and read books as I should!

  • #18852

    anonymous
    Participant

    Greatest Military Blunders by David Saul, and Climatopolis How cities will adapt and thrive in a hotter world. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.I like my books to be almost text book like to be honest, but I've recently highly enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse stuff (hides head in shame)

  • #18853

    BradH
    Participant

    Greatest Military Blunders by David Saul, and Climatopolis How cities will adapt and thrive in a hotter world. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.I like my books to be almost text book like to be honest, but I've recently highly enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse stuff (hides head in shame)

    Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond has to be one of my favorite books.  :D

  • #18854

    anonymous
    Participant

    Currently reading Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson's “A Gathering Storm” (to be followed by “Towers of Midnight” and then the final installment that comes out in a couple of days, “A Memory of Light”).  And "Great Tales from British History" by Robert Lacey.And... oh, wait, that's it.  I'm focused on getting through "Wheel of Time," so I stuffed away everything else.  I have loads lined up and ready to go, though - my goal in 2013 is to read 50 books.  Or more. 

  • #18855

    jrmorganjr
    Participant

    I'm also reading (listening on Audible, really) the Wheel of Time, “A Memory of Light” final book. Waited 15+ years for this one. BHP momentarily on hold until I blitz through this, no offense!  ;D  Just about a quarter through it. Learning about all the tribes/people and history here has added some insight into that series, certainly.

  • #18856

    madmccrea
    Participant

    I am reading John Guy's Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel. It is a good bio of Thomas Becket and his conflict with Henry II. Iam enjoying the view of Thomas as a person enjoying halking and the good life instead of the avenging Archbiship of Canterbury that argues for the Church and excommunicates.

  • #18857

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'm currently reading Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman, who happens to be my favorite author of historical fiction.  It tells the story of Richard I's crusade to the Holy Land (the sequel, A King's Ransom, which deals w/ his return, capture, etc. is not due out until 2014).  The thing I like about Sharon is that she really does her research, so I can trust that her history is correct (to the extent that it is known), which makes her characters more believable.

    Suzanne,I also love Sharon Kay Penman. I love the books on the Plantagenets, starting with "When Christ and his Saints Slept. I also love "The Sunne in Splendor". They're all great!

  • #18858

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'm also reading (listening on Audible, really) the Wheel of Time, "A Memory of Light" final book. Waited 15+ years for this one. BHP momentarily on hold until I blitz through this, no offense!  ;D  Just about a quarter through it. Learning about all the tribes/people and history here has added some insight into that series, certainly.

    Thumbs up or thumbs down?  I'm mostly thumbs up, but I'm still cheesed off a little over the whole thing.  You can't please everyone, and I know they had to do what they did.  Oh well. 

  • #18859

    Tanja
    Participant

    Thunder God  by Paul Watkins. About a young Norseman who gets abducted and sold off to an Eastern Emperor to be part of his "Varangian Guard", which consists mainly of Norsemen. Then, he escapes with his Celt friend to go back home to Altvik and be the priest. He was hit by lightning as a young boy and has psychic powers. It is good so far. 3/4 of the way through.

  • #18860

    tommm
    Participant

    I've been working my way slowly through “A History of the English Speaking Peoples” by Churchill.  I've finished volumes 1 and 2, and will pick up 3 in a bit.  But I have to say I find Jamie's podcast more thoughtful than Churchill's books.

  • #18861

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'm reading Blood Sisters by Sarah Gristwood. Its a book about the women behind the Wars of the Roses and their untold story on how they were involved. She mainly concentrates on Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, Elizabeth of York with a few stories about Duchess Cecily Neville, Margaret of Burgundy, Anne and Isabelle Neville. Its really interesting to read their stories and how they were involved in the intrigue and battles between the two houses where, in the case of the Neville girls, they ended up on opposite sides from the rest of their family

  • #18862

    JamesS
    Participant

    I just finished Neil Gaiman's new book, Ocean at the End of the Lane, and because of just starting the podcast recently, I'm also starting The Celts The People who Came out of the Darkness by Gerhard Herm.  I'm only a few chapters in, so haven't decided how accurate to believe it to be yet!

  • #18863

    SusanR
    Participant

    I've actually just finished reading a book that hasn't been published yet that a friend wrote.  It's set in what is now Ireland around 500bce.  I really enjoyed it.I'm currently re-reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon while I'm deciding on a new book to read.  I'm leaning towards "At Home" by Bill Bryson or "Sutton" by J. R. MoehrinerSusan

  • #18864

    anonymous
    Participant

    I've actually just finished reading a book that hasn't been published yet that a friend wrote.  It's set in what is now Ireland around 500bce.  I really enjoyed it.I'm currently re-reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon while I'm deciding on a new book to read.  I'm leaning towards "At Home" by Bill Bryson or "Sutton" by J. R. MoehrinerSusan

    Is your friend's book a work of fiction?  When it goes to publish, pass the word on so I can put it on my to-read list!  (And hooray for another Outlander reader!  I'm working my way through #6 right now, in an attempt to be caught up before the next book drops in March.  And, you know, before the series starts to air...)

  • #18865

    SusanR
    Participant

    Hi jessaminnie – yes, it's a work of fiction.  I'll make sure to post when he publishes it :)Oh yes, Outlander is a series that I go back to often.  Gabaldon is such a good storyteller.  I can't wait to see how it will go as a tv series as well.  I like that idea better than trying to make a movie out of it.  This way, they don't have to drop as much since the books are so thick. Susan

  • #18866

    anonymous
    Participant

    Susan, did you see that they've finally cast an actress to play Claire?  Yesterday(9/11/13)'s announcement pretty much made my entire week! 

  • #18867

    SusanR
    Participant

    Yes!  I think she looks remarkably like what I imagined Claire to look like. I can't wait to see this!

  • #18868

    Richard Lyle
    Participant

    Seb Coe's autobiography. I was always an Ovett fan but this is surprisingly good. I also have Ian Mortimer's The Perfect King on the go. It's about Edward III and an easy, easy read.

  • #18869

    Richard Lyle
    Participant

    I picked up the new Terry Pratchett in Leicester yesterday (Lester yeicesterday?) and left it in my car overnight. I'm off to bed now to make a start on it. By the way, the university bookshop has a cracking selection of Richard III books for anyone interested in the Man in the Carpark.

  • #18870

    strap
    Participant

    I am reading a fiction book by Bernard Cornwell called ” The Pagan Lord”. I've only just started it and so far am enjoying it. The main character is a lord called Uhtred who live in Mercia. To the north is Northumbria occupied by the Danes who are ruled by Cnut Longsword. Uhtred himself is a Pagan but his followers are mainly Christian, including his sons. It's set about the time that King Alfred as just died and England seems quite peaceful.As I have said I have only read 30 some-odd pages so I'm still waiting to see how it will progress.I will report back when all is revealed.

  • #18871

    rgar
    Participant

    Actually I am re-reading all those books I picked up in English Churchs and Cathedrals when last in UK.    Got to love those Saints like the ones you never hear of… St. Hugh of Lincoln..etc..

  • #18872

    Roger
    Participant

    Bernard Cornwell's work is excellent. I thoroughly recommend any of his books if you want to get a feel for Dark Ages Britain. It's Jamie's podcast wrought in historical fiction.

  • #18873

    Coachwhip1865
    Participant

    Just finished the latest Dresden files, but mostly reading history right now. Artillery of Gettysburg and nathanial Philbrick book on Boston prior to the Revolution, really like Philbrick for American history. I pick books on history that I feel I should know more about (kinda how I found BHP). Anyone have any good books on the Merovingian? I don't want the conspiracy junk (read Holy Blood Holy Grail, not impressed with the book, too many ifs and maybes) just want history.

  • #18874

    anonymous
    Participant

    Just finished the latest Dresden files, but mostly reading history right now. Artillery of Gettysburg and nathanial Philbrick book on Boston prior to the Revolution, really like Philbrick for American history.

    Is this the "Bunker Hill" one?  I was just looking at that and pondering adding it to my 'to-read' list for this year.  I'm chugging along through a Complete Idiot's Guide to the American Revolution because as I've been reading another book that happens to take place in this time, I'm realizing how much I don't remember from school.  So the Revolution is my subject of choice for 2014 and good reads are needed!  I'm going to add Nathanial Philbrick to my authors to watch list, too.  Looks like he's got some good topics.

  • #18875

    SusanR
    Participant

    jessaminnie – You asked me to let you know when my friend's book is available to buy. It's now on amazon.com.  For the moment, it's only available in paperback but he's working on an e-book version that should be ready soon.It's called : "Conall: Rinn-Iru (The Place of Blood)" by David H. MillarI'm also working my way slowly through the Outlander series...I've made it to "Drums of Autumn" but I keep falling asleep when I start reading.  I must be getting old, I used to read to wake up in the morning, now I wake up with the book falling on the floor!Susan

  • #18876

    anonymous
    Participant

    jessaminnie - You asked me to let you know when my friend's book is available to buy. It's now on amazon.com.  For the moment, it's only available in paperback but he's working on an e-book version that should be ready soon.It's called : "Conall: Rinn-Iru (The Place of Blood)" by David H. MillarI'm also working my way slowly through the Outlander series...I've made it to "Drums of Autumn" but I keep falling asleep when I start reading.  I must be getting old, I used to read to wake up in the morning, now I wake up with the book falling on the floor!Susan

    Thanks for remembering!  I'm going to go toss that onto my Wish List so I don't forget!  :)I've been re-reading Outlander, too -- except on audiobook.  I put it on while I'm doing my data entry at work and sometimes when I'm driving (without husband) in the car.  I try to read at night, but I keep dropping the book...  I'm glad eReaders keep your place!  I'd hate to keep dropping a paper book, only to lose my place over and over and over again.  Been there, done that!

  • #18877

    gaslight dreamer
    Participant

    Presently I'm reading three things:Hollow City by Ransom Riggs -- This is the sequel to Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children - I'm starting to find that children's and young adult speculative fiction is actually better written than a lot of the stuff for adults. This series follows the adventures of a young boy who discovers that not-only do strange and unusual powers exist, but he is one of the Peculiars and now he must help a group to save the world and the future from the Hollows, an organization of evil who want to take over the world and kill/eat all of the Peculiars. Ans the lead must accomplish all of this while trapped in World War II Britain. Both this and the first book are heavily inspired by the strange photos of the Victorian era.Kushiel's Dart by Jaqueline Carey (I'm listening to this one on Audio Book) - Alternate history where France was allegedly founded by angels who abandoned heaven to follow the son of Jesus and Mary Magdelene. The lead character is a professional courtesan who specialized in submission and BDSM. She is drawn into the politics of her world and becomes a pawn to the various puppet-masters in the ruling class. Basically Game of Thrones with more erotica and fewer dragons. -- I'm listening to this one on audio book because I find the text of the paperback just too fine to read, especially in the evenings.Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade  by James Reston Jr. - This is exactly what it says on the tin. Reston manages to write this history book like a novel and gives equal time to both the Christians and the Muslims and shows all of the horror, politics and back-stabbing of this Crusade. I particularly like the fact that he is not glossing over the relationship that Richard had with the King of France as so many history books seem to insist on doing.

  • #18878

    Dread Randal
    Participant

    I am preparing to re-read the Discworld books which borrow inspiration from (and poke fun at) much of world history and legend. I especially like how Sir Terry interprets the Picts somewhat as rowdy Scottish Smurfs and wish he used them more.

  • #18879

    Anonymous

    The book i'm reading is Artemis Fowl: The Artic Incident. No spoilers, but it involves alot of goblins.

  • #18880

    anonymous
    Participant

    I am currently reading Mercia: the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Central England by Sarah Zaluckyj (No idea how to pronounce her surname!) and greatly enjoying it. 415XBLWwDCL._SX385_.jpgRight now I'm finding particularly interesting her interpretation of Coifi's motivation for the act of casting a spear into the temple at Yeavering, which is at complete odds with Jamie's interpretation in the BHP. Unlike Jamie she doesn't acknowledge the possibility of a different motivation for his actions. Score one to the scholarship of BHP!If thinking of making a purchase bear in mind the format, it's an A4 size textbook so far from a pocket book!http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1906663548/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d1_i7?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0WTQ1HHTB8MBWW2ZRD5M&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455344027&pf_rd_i=468294

  • #18881

    anonymous
    Participant

    Not long finished Bernard Cornwell's 1356

  • #18882

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    BigTimedWarfer, what was Sarah's interpretation for what Coifi did?  I'm trying to remember who first clued me into that interpretation of the spear… It might have been Kirby, Carver, or Stenton… but it also could have been Blair…  I really can't remember.  But I remember reading it and thinking “that's a fascinating notion!”

  • #18883

    anonymous
    Participant

    BigTimedWarfer, what was Sarah's interpretation for what Coifi did?  I'm trying to remember who first clued me into that interpretation of the spear... It might have been Kirby, Carver, or Stenton... but it also could have been Blair...  I really can't remember.  But I remember reading it and thinking "that's a fascinating notion!"

    I'll quote rather than paraphrase. In a passage discussing the appearance (layout) of pagan religious sites she says, "a senior pagan priest Coifi, attacks his heathen temple as a way of breaking with paganism. Coifi sets out on a stallion bearing a spear (pagan priests were only permitted to ride a mare and go unarmed) and rides up to where the idols are lodged, then casts his spear into the temple to profane it and instructs his companions 'to set fire to the temple and its enclosures and destroy them'."It's on page 45 of my edition.

  • #18884

    Benspit
    Participant

    Love these types of threads; always something interesting to pick up on!I've got a bit of a fascination with historical naval fiction at the moment and have been making my way through a series of series (yep, I just did that) by some cracking authors:David Donachie writes about John Pearce (first book is called "By the Mast Divided"). Set in the early 1790s, Pearce is a gentleman (of sorts) who gets "pressed" into the Royal Navy and the series tells his story as he fights the French, his Captain, his mess-mates and those that stand in the way of justice! 10 books in the series at the moment, I'm up to the 4th.Sean Thomas Russell writes about Charles Hayden (first is called "Under Enemy Colours"). Hayden is half English/half French but of a Naval family so is at home in the RN. A bit more of a "standard" series - there isn't anything that truly differentiates this from some of the classic Naval fiction characters like Hornblower or Bolitho. Still a very good read though. 3 books in the series so far and I've read them all.Other authors worth checking out are Jay Worrall and Dewie Lambie.If historical naval fiction is your thing, I recommend heading to http://www.historicnavalfiction.com - a very thorough and regularly updated website on that specific topic. A great resource.Naval fiction aside, I'm about to pick up "The Norman Conquest" by Marc Morris (something a little closer to where Jamie is at in the podcast!). I've not turned a page yet but will follow up if anyone is interested later.

  • #18885

    Richard Lyle
    Participant

    Just finished Ranulph Fiennes' Agincourt and have started on a biography of Richard III. Fiennes' book only really comes alive when he talks about his own experience of warfare when it becomes terrifying. War is bad, m'kay?

  • #18886

    anonymous
    Participant

    Just finished reading (actually audio book) Anne Rice's Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and now am listening to the sequel Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. Interesting concept of Jesus as an historical fiction character. I really liked the first one which depicts Jesus as 7-8 year old boy discovering the secret of his divinity. I was a little surprised that the second takes place so much later (about the time the Gospels pick up his life again) as I was thinking it would cover more of the “missing years”. Also reading James Campbell's  The Anglo-Saxons which is a bit dry after listening to Jamie's podcasts but gets into a bit of the hard scholarship/archeology behind the theories about them. Of course, it is a bit dated, as there has been so much subsequent archeology since the book was published in the early 80's.Just start listening to audio book of Thomas B. Costain's The Conquering Family. No thought on this yet except they couldn't have picked a more "British" narrator. His voice makes you think that Victoria will walk in at any second for afternoon tea.

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