Books to read - Ireland & UK

Old Apr 11th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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Books to read - Ireland & UK

Thanks to the help of many of you, we have the logistics of our UK/Ireland trip all ironed out. (Hooray!) So all that's left is
anticipation! I really want to appreciate the history and culture of the places we visit - I did a couple of weeks backpacking Europe when I was 19, and although it was fantastic, I find myself wishing I'd known more about what I was seeing.

So, I'm looking for suggestions. Can anyone recommend books for us? (I think I have movies covered - sadly, my knowledge of movies is much broader than books!) As an example, I have friends that adore the
Outlander series, so I'm thinking about maybe that for Scotland. We'll be visiting the following...

- Lake District (UK)
- Edinburgh, maybe day tripping to Stirling
- London
- southwest Ireland (Killarney, Dingle, Ennis)

jent103 is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Edinburgh- Trainspotting.
Anything by Ian Rankin or Quintin Jardine

Heart of Midlothian, by Scott
Dr Jekyll and Mr hyde by RL Stevenson.

Paul Johnston's books
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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Posted too soon

Christopher Brookmyre's Parlabane books

Kidnapped and Catriona by Stevenson

Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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For Ireland:
" The Princes of Ireland" by Edward Rutherford,.
Very, very good.

Another is
"Ireland" a Novel by Frank Delaney

Thomas Flanagan has written some good books about Ireland.

I hope you find one to enjoy and I know you will your trip.

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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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For the modern Edinburgh normal people live in, Miss Jean Brodie or the '44 Scotland Street' books by Alexander McCall Smith. 'Trainspotting' is about a parallel universe that - thank God - few people have the misfortune to get involved with.

London: you're going to have to help us here. Britain, most years, publishes more new book titles - around 100,000 -than any other country in the world. Its publishing industry is so insular at least a third of those are, in one way or another, about London. Practically every single modern British novel, if it's not about Edinburgh drug asddicts, is about adultery in London's suburbs, or postmodern angst in Islington or Notting Hill.

We can give you more interesting lists: the Encyclopedia of London, Edward Rutherford's 'London: The Novel', Norman Davis' 'The Isles', Peter Ackroyd's 'London: The Biography' are a few that are winking from one wall of my study alone. But no city on earth has ever so obsessively chronicled itself
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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flanner - I love it. London I'm actually least concerned about "appreciating," since I lived there for a semester (prior to the aforementioned backpacking). But I know Edinburgh's as different from London as... well, you get the idea. I'll definitely check out the books you mentioned. As far as more input from me... I like novels, but I'm not looking for "chick lit" style or pure romances. So the suburban adultery is probably not what I'm going for. I've read and liked some of Ian McEwen, for example. Mainly anything intelligent! Or very well written history books, which sounds like what flanner has pointed me to.

Thanks so much to everyone for the suggestions so far!
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 02:54 PM
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Definitely Fran Delaney's "Ireland" is one that you would appreciate. I found it very hard to put down once I started.

Slan Beo,

Bit Devine
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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It was very good wasn't it? I liked The Princes of Ireland even more. Give it a try.

Regards, Joan
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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Morgan Llewlyn is another author to enjoy...F. Delaney is great and of course Princes of Ireland..Hard to beat.. Londinum, Sarum..the list goes on and on..SW Ireland is aldso hard to beat..Clifden,westport.. Again the list goes on and on.. Have a wonderful time..It will be hard not to do so..I wish I could join you..Or one more thing.Ireland of the Welcomes has marvelous byways not highways sections. You can find it on the internet if you dojn't have time for a subscription. After your trip you may want to relive the Emeralfd Isle by subscribing..Take care and say Slainte for me..
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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Good grief what spelling !!! Mea culpa!!!
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:51 PM
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"In Search of London" by H. V. Morton, although written many years ago, this is still one of my favorite books. His observations of daily life are fascinating.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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Wow - this is fantastic. Thank you so much! I'm going to have to start reading - we only have seven weeks before we leave! : )
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 08:08 PM
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Edward Rutherford's historical fiction is great. Sarum, London & The Princes of Ireland.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:13 PM
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Looks like there are alot of folks with great tastes in jent103 happy reading and travels...
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 11:50 PM
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Lake District -
Fiction - The Maid of Buttermere by Melvyn Bragg
Non fiction - A walk around the Lakes by Hunter Davies
London -
Fiction - Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Anything by Peter Ackroyd (Clerkwell Tales, Lambs of London etc)
Plus the best novel I read in 2006, and ideal for a long plane journey -
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 04:09 AM
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Real London =- London Fields by Martin Amis; any of the "long firm" trilogy by Jake arnott and others as I think of them.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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A great read--The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

Or maybe Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Lake District, of course)
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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I will "second" the recommendations for Edward Rutherford's Princes of Ireland, I read it after I went to Ireland and LOVED it.

The Rebels of Ireland, also by Rutherford, is now out in paperback and I am almost finished and loved it even more then "Princes".

You mentioned that you aren't "into chick lit" but I have enjoyed the Irish author Marian Keys. She is in the "chick lit" genre, but I have found that she does tend to tackle some dark topics (addictions and AIDS) in some of her books. The main characters are Irish, but some of the books settings are in places other than Ireland. You might want to check her out.

I also enjoy the Outlander series, but have only read the first 2 books.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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I definitely appreciate chick lit for beach reading - for this, I just wanted something other than books that just happened to be set in London, if that makes any sense. I've read the first in the Outlander series, and the reason I liked it was that it incorporated a lot of history into the story - it's not just a romance.

Y'all, these are fantastic! Thank you so much!
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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I'd never heard of the Outlander series so did a google and I see the author is American. So I don't know how authentic they are likely to be. I think they are unknown here.

Sheila's suggestions are all good and for Edinburgh I'd particularly concur with Christopher Brookmyre's first Parlabane novel, 'Quite Ugly One Morning'.

But most of all for Edinburgh I'd endorse Flanner's suggestion of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street books ('44 Scotland Street', 'Espresso Tales' and 'Love Over Scotland') - they make me laugh as they are so *exactly* what living here is like ! Also his Isabel Dalhousie books ('The Sunday Philosophy Club', 'Friends, Lovers, Chocolate' & 'The Right Attitude to Rain'), although they are marginally less entertaining IMO.

Definitely *not* a portrait of modern Edinburgh, however, is 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' which is set in the 1930s. It's a good read, though, and certainly the most famous book set in Edinburgh.

NB None of these is very long
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