Books to read - Ireland & UK

Old Apr 12th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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For a glimpse into the history of Ireland and it's part in saving civilization try:

"How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill.

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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Not about the part of Ireland you're going to visit but Roddy Doyle's Barrytown trilogy (The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van) about a family in suburban Dublin, are lots of fun.

The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan is one of the great novels about Ireland and one of the greatest historical novels ever.

Also, I would recommend Glue by Irvine Welsh as an alternative to Trainspotting - not quite as edgy a story but a good portrayal of gritty Edinburgh.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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For the Lake District: Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome. It's a classic children's book, written in 1930, about a family on a camping and sailing holiday in the Lake District. Although it's a children's book, it's well enough written to be enjoyed by adults.

For an interesting article on the real place names of the locations in the book (Ransome apparently fictionalized the names), see
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Thanks, LowCountryIslander, I just ordered "The Rebels of Ireland".
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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Posts: 2,478 are welcome! I hope you enjoy "Rebels" as much as I am...hence my staying up "until all hours" of the night reading!
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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"Sarum" was brilliant!

Also for insight about traveling around England, Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island", although it's a bit dated now.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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I went out on my lunch break and picked up "Princes of Ireland" and "Rebels of Ireland". I will let you know what I think when I get done with them both. Those two should carry me through until the Trilogy of books by Ann Moore comes in toward the end of next week!

Slan Beo,

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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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I've enjoyed most of Rutherford's books mentioned here (London, Sarum, Princes of Ireland, The Forest), because I love the history in it. Basically his books take a set of characters that lived in the ancient times of a location, and follow the stories as their descendants interact at each point in history. Cool

Outlander's author is in Arizona, but has a surprising grasp of Scottish history and culture - and she has Scots proofread her stuff, including the Gaelic
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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I love posts with book ideas!
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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Alexander McCall Smith's books make me want to visit Edinburgh and Africa...and most of his characters are people I would want to be introduced to.
Also, I've always liked Maeve Binchy's books for the same reasons.
The above two authors are high on my list of those I like to read when I need a "warm fuzzy" but that doesn't mean that they're simplistic or overly sweet. Both of the authors, in my opinion, present the darker side of human nature but believe that the better side will prevail. Good wishes for happy reading if you've never encountered either author and enjoy those kinds of books!
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 05:46 PM
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Could you give me the titles of the Ann Moore books? I'm always looking for something new to read. Right now I'm reading Maeve Binchys latest "Whitethorn Woods" It's good as usual. I'm not too far into it yet.

Thanks a ton, Joan

Sorry, jent103, and thank you.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 06:25 PM
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I also read the Ann Moore books (How could I forget! They were great!)

The book titles (in order) are:
Gracelin O'Malley
Leaving Ireland
'Til Morning Light

I read all 3 books back to back, since one started where the last left off it was like reading one book.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 08:28 PM
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Trinity by Leon Uris
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 11:34 PM
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Thanks, lowcountryislander, I'll get them ordered.

mkdiebold, I've read it twice. It was a very good book.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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One of the best books ever - Mary Queen of Scotland by Margaret George. It is like being in a time machine!
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Tony Hawks (not Tony Hawk the skater) wrote a pretty funny book called "Round Ireland With A Fridge" which is about him hitchhiking around Ireland with a fridge. I know that makes no sense, but the book explains all.

Pete McCarthy's "McCarthy's Bar: A Voyage of Discovery in Ireland" is an even funnier trip around the island stopping at every bar called "McCarthy's".

For London, my favorite thing is a hard-to-find small magazine called "Smoke: A London Peculiar":

More accessible, and brilliant (though lacking in the wry humor of the above) is the out-dated but still relevant "London Perceived" by V.S. Pritchett.

If you prefer the humor, try Bryson, or even better, Paul Theroux's extremely nasty, bad-tempered and wonderful "The Kingdom by the Sea".

For modern fiction, try Julian Barnes's "Metroland" or Zazie Smith's "White Teeth".

For architecture, you cannot beat the Pevsner guides, either the originals by Nicholas Pevsner or the modern updated ones. London alone has I think seven volumes, which might be a bit much. There are also Pevsner guides for Edinburgh, Stirling, and Cumberland and Westmoreland, which covers the Lake District.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 02:09 PM
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So many great ideas! I just picked up "44 Scotland Street" - I'll start it on an airplane ride tomorrow. I wandered around the bookstore for a bit as well - Edward Rutherford sounds fabulous.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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Wonderful books on Ireland by James Charles Roy:
The Back of Beyond, A Search For The Soul Of Ireland.

Fields of Athenry, A Journey through Irish History

The Road Wet, The Wind Close, Celtic Ireland

Islands of Storm

He divides his time between Moyode Castle in County Galway ( which he bought in 1970), and his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Great reads!


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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Loved the "Outlander" series. Very believable characters/storylines. Good reading for a trip to Scotland. And although the books are intimidatingly thick, you'll eat them up and be ready to devour the next one.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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I second the Outlander series. I read the first one on the beach in Hawaii and immediately went searching the book stores on Kauai (a smallish island) for the second one. Found it, too!
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