Yesterday I spent THREE HOURS rearranging my bookcases to make room for the new acquisitions. I was proud of myself for getting rid of TEN books! These outcasts will go on eBay or to charity shops. Their replacements are...
These came from the trip to Hay-On-Wye (the town of books in Wales).
1. The Life and Times of William IV - I've been writing a short story set in 1835 so this was very useful. Also, William IV is an often overlooked monarch, coming between his notoriously inneffectual older brother George III (best remembered as Hugh Laurie's Prince Regent in Blackadder) and his iconic niece Victoria.
2. Victorian Toys and Games - Ostensibly bought for Scarlett, but really purchased for my own delight.
3. The Neanderthals - This was published in the 70s so I hope it isn't too inaccurate.
4. The Canterbury Tales - I've wanted a nice edition of this for ages and this is a glorious fully illustrated and annotated one.
These were bought on a shopping trip to Romford, from cheapo chain book store The Works. This is the one store loyalty card that I make proper use of, spending my vouchers every month.
5. Edwardian Farm - I had just finished watching the series so this was a well-timed purchase. I'm addicted to this series of BBC documentaries. They've done Victorian Farm and Tudor Monastery Farm too, and most recently a series in which they built an actual Medieval Castle using the construction methods of the period.
6. Bedlam by Catherine Arnold - I read her book on the seedy history of London's Underworld and really enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to reading this, her previous book.
7. The Romford Outrage - Local history! This is about a famous case in which a policeman was murdered in 1885, close to where I live.
These were bought in September, during a bountiful shopping trip to Brentwood.
8. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran - Yeah, she's irritating as hell, but in a weird way I feel I can relate to her, as she was raised on benefits on a council estate, and there are few articulate working-class role models for British women. In a climate where the poorest in society are vilified by the media it's refreshing to see a woman proudly declaring her roots and showing what can be accomplished even when one is from an impoverished background.
9. Victorian Farm - The other book from the historical documentary TV series. I now have the accompanying books for this, the aforementioned Edwardian Farm, and Tudor Monastery Farm.
10. A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages - I've read so much Victorian, Tudor and 17th Century stuff that recently I've felt inclined to delve further into the history of this fair isle.
11. Life on the Home Front - I'm in the process of researching the sequel for my mostly-Victorian-set Vampire novel, which is to be largely set between the 1930s and 60s.
12. Michael Jackson: King of Pop. The Unseen Archives 1958-2009 - This is actually a Christmas present for my Jacko-obsessed daughter.
13: London: A Celebration in Photos - I love London.
14. London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd - Did I mention I love London? I've read one of Ackroyd's previous London-based historical books and really enjoyed his writing style.
15. Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens - This is Dickens' oft-overlooked first book, a collection of newspaper articles he wrote in the 1830s, concerning the lives of ordinary Londoners. Again, it's research for my 1830s-set short story.
16. The Preraphaelites - This is my favourite period of art.
17. Van Gogh: The Life - I've always been fascinated by Van Gogh's tragic story of poverty and madness. This is a brand new book and is Biblical in its proportion. It was written by two art historians, in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, over a 15 year period, and is regarded as his definitive biography.
18. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - A reimagining of Arthurian Legend. My cousin recommended it to me about 12 years ago and I've been meaning to read it ever since.
19. Captain Cook - A historical figure with local connections, for he was married in nearby Barking Abbey. I've read a few nautical-based books and love the romanticism and brutality of seafaring life.