The Year In Books: July & June

A literary pick ‘n’ mix…

So it’s summer and of course that means we’re all sitting by the pool, reading something light and airy.

Or maybe not…


To be entirely truthful, my reading over the last few weeks has been extremely patchy. I’ve certainly downloaded and read a lot of sample chapters on the Kindle, but as for actually reading through a whole book, ummm, well.

The trouble started when I decided after buying the next Gareth and Gwen novel, not to read it straight away. I’ve gulped down so many series novels over the years, I suddenly thought I’d wait and read this later in the winter. But what to read instead?

I won’t bore you with all the titles I tasted. In the end, on the Kindle I have lined up the following;

  • The Passion – Jeanette Winterson (thank you to My Search For Magic for the recommendation)
  • The Gospel of Loki – Joanne M Harris
  • The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Arnim (guaranteed to make you feel good)

While I was dithering about what to read, Jo at The Hazel Tree posted her review of the classic The Old Straight Track – Alfred Watkins.  This is one of my favourite books, so after reading her post, I dug out my copy and promptly starting dipping in again. Not only is it a fascinating read, but for me it’s quite nostalgic, bringing back lots of happy memories.


Then my yoga teacher lent me her copy of Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness – Erich Schiffman, so I’m gradually reading through that too.

Which would probably have been more than enough to get my teeth into. But then, a few days ago, I happened upon the new Marc Morris history book – The Norman Conquest. What is a history junkie supposed to do! I like Marc Morris’s style, and I thought before I buy the new book, I’ll re-read his previous one, about Edward I – which I did.


And then – big mistake, I looked Marc Morris up on the Kindle and found he’d written another book, about castles – Castles: A history of the buildings that shaped medieval Britain. It’s at times like these someone should take my Amazon account off me. Naturally I demonstrated no self-control whatsoever, not only did I order Castles, I also found a copy of Prof R Allen Brown’s classic, English Castles online, which I’ve also ordered.

Which would have been alright I suppose, if I hadn’t then decided I might as well buy The Norman Conquest anyway – which I have…


My name is Anny and I am a history-bookaholic.

Happy reading


23 thoughts on “The Year In Books: July & June

  1. I have never heard of The Old Straight Track. What an intriguing sounding book, I might well get myself a copy. Do you know England In Particular by Sue Clifford and Angela King? It’s one of my favourites to dip into.

    1. Just had a look at Jo’s review and saw your comment about the Merrily Watkins books, again new to me, I’m off to Amazon to do a little shopping, thank you!

      By the way I was in Worcester Cathedral last night and very beautiful it was looking too. Had a lovely evening although it didn’t end particularly well.

      1. You’ll know lots of the places in the Merrily Watkins books too. I love them, all I’d say is, you don’t have to read them in order, but it probably helps a bit if you do.

    2. I didn’t know about England In Particular, but I’ve just Amazoned it and I think it will have to go on the Christmas list – thank you for the recommendation – just up my street. The Old Straight Track is a classic, whether you agree with Watkins or not, it’s well worth a read and you should be able to pick up a copy cheaply. You’ll no doubt know a lot of the places he writes about too. If you wanted to be really decadent you could drive over to Hay and have a day in the book shops!

      1. I really should have a day in Hay, it’s ages since I was there. And what a lot of good books there are set in the Marches -Cadfael, Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Arthur books and Merrily Watkins.

        Another favourite of mine are Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway books set in East Anglia. Undemanding but enjoyable with likeable characters.

  2. Haha, Anny, it’s too late!! 🙂 So glad you were drawn back to Alfred Watkins. There’s something so very magical about that book, it’s as if you’re discovering it all with him. And all of those other choices sound extremely tempting! I have made a note of the Merrily Watkins books that you recommended earlier.

  3. I can’t think of a better kind of bookaholic to be than a history one.
    Didn’t you swear off buying books for a year a while back, and plan to only read from your own bookshelves? How long did you last? Not that I can talk, I followed your lead and managed about a month. I love books too much. But I still have way too many I haven’t read, although I’m feeling a bit better about that since I read on a blog earlier of a ‘to be read’ bookcase containing a whopping 150 titles.

    1. You’re absolutely right, I managed about two months before I threw in the towel and admitted defeat – I just cannot live without a steady flow of new reading on hand. To be fair I have re-read quite a few books over the last year, but I’ve also bought loads (for which read LOADS!).

  4. Amazon is a dangerous place isn’t it. Once minute I’m sat quietly on the sofa have a blog browse, then minute I’ve clicked “Confirm Order” and something is winging it’s way to me. It frightens me how fast it all happens sometimes.

    1. You’re so right! I could probably bankrupt us over a fairly short time if I let myself go completely. But on the plus side, these days I can find stuff that would have been far to obscure to get around here – it has its uses.

  5. Aaah, Merrily Watkins, delightful novels and I keep meaning to get hold of the Old Straight Track to read. I can also recommend Corrag by Susan Fletcher – am half way through and her writing is a delight.Your ramblings round Amazon sound very familiar, such a dangerous place. I do have to ask though (professional interest here) have you checked out your local library service? You might find you can download free e-books to borrow if you have an i-Pad as well as a Kindle 🙂

    1. Kathy, you really made me stop and think there, it’s been a looooong time since I went to our library, I must go along and see what they have on offer. I am certainly not going to be short of ideas over the coming months.

      1. Good’o, hope they come up to scratch – remember to take some ID with you in case you’ve “lapsed”!! Forgot to mention, the image of the Norman above reminded me of Alan Garner’s book covers; a lovely sense of history mystery about it – as a dweller in 1066 Country I’ve come across the Normans once or twice!

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