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Best British Books

Updated on June 10, 2015
Best British books and authors
Best British books and authors | Source

The British reading list

Ah. The land of Shakespeare, Pepys and Chaucer - how rich and varied Great Britain is when it comes to fine literature.

Many of us have been busy on this site reviewing our favourite books from the UK.

Surprisingly, the aforementioned gentlemen haven't cropped up yet (but keep calling back; this is a growing list) but you will find a review of the famous Beano and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction suggestions and reviews.

I had thought of arranging this collection in sections like a library - autobiographies, fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks and so on but arranging the list in alphabetical seems to be much more fun.You never know what you'll find!

If you write on this site and have reviewed a British book, do let me know and I'll add it to this list. Oh, and please leave a comment in the area below and let me know what you think.


The image above is copyright free from Wikimedia. It has been artworked by me.

A Kind of Loving: Stan Barstow
A Kind of Loving: Stan Barstow | Source

Reviews

This book was first published in 1960 (and it had fabulously contemporary cover) and showed a side of Britain that many people didn't realise existed, even other people in other areas of the UK.

This is the realism of the north of England and yet is a touching book; now considered a classic.

Read the review

The Beano
The Beano

Most of us in the UK grew up reading this comic every week.

(Am I right in thinking that it came out every Tuesday?)

And then at the end of they year,our mums would buy us the annual.

My mum used to buy it for my brother when he was well into his forties.

Read more

Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Kate Atkinson
Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Kate Atkinson

If I was told that I could only read two or three books for the rest of my life, this would be one of them.

It's set in the glorious City of York and follows a girl who was born in the nineteen fifties as she grows up.

But its so much more than that...

Read on

Bum Bags and Fanny Packs
Bum Bags and Fanny Packs

Americans call them 'fanny packs'.

We call them 'bum bags'.

And believe me, there is a world of difference between a fanny and a bum.

But that's just one of the highly hilarious differences between American and British English. Not knowing the difference can get you into trouble.

I found out the hard way.

Read the review

Doctor Who
Doctor Who

Realising that Dr Who has been shown on British telly for over fifty years is just a little alarming.

That's because I remember seeing the very first episode.

However, for the fan, there is no better book than this.

It tells all about those fifty years and is a must for the Whovian.

See my review

The Profumo Affair
The Profumo Affair

I was just a kid when this sex scandal took place in England.

I remember the names of the people involved but certainly not the details.

When I read this book .... my goodness.

Men who were high up in the British government, Russian spies and sexy young call girls all feature in this true story.

See more

The Garden at Highgrove
The Garden at Highgrove

My other half drew my attention one evening to something he was watching on the telly.

It was a documentary about the Prince of Wales and the gardens and sustainable organic farm he has created over the last thirty years.

I'm not a gardener in the slightest but I had to buy this fascinating book.

Read more

The Great Train Robbery of 1963
The Great Train Robbery of 1963

In 1932, a bunch of young criminals robbed a mail train.

The amount of money they stole would be enormous if you translated into today's money. It was the crime of the century.

But, did all that money bring them happiness?

Did they get caught?

This true crime is still being talked about in Britain today.

Read on

Harmony: Prince Charles
Harmony: Prince Charles

It was more than thirty years ago that the young Prince Charles started banging on about the environment and sustainability.

This led many of the newspapers to conclude that our future king was simply a crackpot.

Time has proved him to be absolutely right.

Read more

Prince Harry
Prince Harry

The new generation of the royal family are proving to be incredibly popular throughout the world.

Much of this is due to the down to earth personalities of Princes Harry and William.

This is a wonderful book about Harry, including his exploits and adventures in the British army.

Read the review

In Search of Perfection: Heston Blumenthal
In Search of Perfection: Heston Blumenthal

The scientific chef went in search of perfection.

This search took him all over the world to learn culinary secrets and discover the origins of special ingredients.

The result was this book which has carefully detailed recipes and a wealth of knowledge about Britain's favourite dishes.

Click here for the review

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre

This is an English classic that stands the test of time.

Although it was written in Victorian times (it was first published in 1847) it features stories and dilemmas that are still familiar to us today.

Click the link below to read more about this wonderful classic.

Read the review

John: Cynthia Lennon
John: Cynthia Lennon

It's arguable - who knows a man better than anyone else?

I guess that his first wife - the one who knew him when he was first starting out - would be high on the list.

This is a fascinating biography by Cynthia Lennon.

See more

Home: Julie Andrews
Home: Julie Andrews

I was actually not looking forward to reading this book - it was a gift - because it's the autobiography of an actress that I've never particularly admired.

How wrong I was.

What a fabulous woman and what a fascinating book about her early days and career.

Click here for the review

The Life &Loves of a She Devil: Fay Wheldon
The Life &Loves of a She Devil: Fay Wheldon

This was billed as a 'revenge novel' and oh boy, you won't believe the lengths this woman scorned will go to in order to exact revenge on her adulterous husband and his new mistress.

Large, ungainly and ugly the abandoned wife may be, but when it come to revenge, she's got style.

See the review

Londonstani
Londonstani

Read my review of this amazing book and you'll learn that there is a moment in this book that makes you go 'wow -that can't be!'

Well, that's what happened to me.

This book was first recommended to me and I wasn't quite sure that it was my sort of thing but it's a firm favourite now.

Read the review

John McVicar
John McVicar

This is the autobiography of a man who was, at one time, considered to be public enemy number one in the UK.

But the interesting thing about this book is that he had written an autobiography before, which had been filmed, but it wasn't true.

This is the real story.

Read the review

Michael Caine
Michael Caine

I enjoy autobiographies from the stars.

And this one is from a man who is probably one of Britain's best-loved actors.

What fascinating stories he has to tell too - from his humble beginnings to a life of stardom in Hollywood, with plenty of laughs (and tears) along the way.

See the review

N or M? Agatha Christie
N or M? Agatha Christie

This book features one of Agatha Christie's earliest detectives - well, two in fact.

The first book about them is set just after WW1.

In this book though, it's WW2 and the couple are feeling middle-aged and useless - but not for long.

Here's the review.

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less: Jeffrey Archer
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less: Jeffrey Archer

What happens when four men are swindled out of their money by an adept conman?

And how do they get their money back?

The answer is ingenious.

But reading this book, and knowing a little about the history of the author, is it really fiction?

Click for more

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit: Jeanette Winterson
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit: Jeanette Winterson

What a great book.

I was brought up in a Methodist family so I can identify with the young girl in this book and her over-bearing, God-fearing mother, located in the north of England.

But it's so funny.

See the videos on the page to get an idea.

Some of the quotes from this book are simply brilliant.

Read more

The Pauper's Cookbook:Jocasta Innes
The Pauper's Cookbook:Jocasta Innes

I'm pretty sure that this was the first recipe book I ever bought and I can tell you that it's saved me hundred, thousands or maybe more pounds and dollars over the years.

It is a completely sensible approach to frugal cooking with delicious recipes.

It's now been completely updated, too.

Here's the review.

Planet Word
Planet Word

Words, language, literature ... all are explored in an amusing way in this wonderful book which was originally a highly popular television series.

When I got this book, I read it from cover to cover.

Click the link below to learn more and see videos from the television series.

Read more

James Hunt
James Hunt

James Hunt is a familiar name to anyone who knows their Formula One history.

And his legendary championship battle in the mid-sixties with rival Niki Lauda is the subject of a fabulous film.

But what was he really like?

He always made the headlines but this is about the real man.

Read my review

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

This is the true account of a murder that took place in Victorian times.

London detectives were called in when the local police realised that the evidence and the facts were quite beyond them.

This is a shocking murder in all respects and the book is also a reflection of life in Victorian times.

Read the review

Travels with My Aunt; Graham Greene
Travels with My Aunt; Graham Greene

I first read this book too many years ago that I want to admit and I still regularly re-read it.

It tells the adventures of a boring, retired bank manager whose life is transformed when he meets his octogenarian aunt at his mother's funeral.

Except the woman they have just cremated isn't his mother and her ashes are mixed with marijuana...

Read the review

The Uncommon Reader: Alan Bennett
The Uncommon Reader: Alan Bennett

This novella is simply delightful.

The Queen of England suddenly realises that she has never read novels. She reads important state documents, the newspapers and parliament declarations but she has never had the time to read fiction.

Once she decides to do so, what effect will this have on the country as a whole?

Read more

This is a splendid recommendation from Paul. There are many theories in various books about what it means to be British but this must be the funniest; and possibly the most accurate. Forget what you think you know about the Brits - even if you are one - and learn what we're really like.

Read more

War Brides
War Brides

When I received Kindle as a gift, this is the first book I downloaded and read. It's the wonderful fictional story of a group of young women from all over the world. Circumstances, and the Second World War, brings them all together in a tiny village in the south of England. Are they safe from the war in this sleepy village? What was life like?

Read on

The Water Room
The Water Room

Did you know that London has a whole network of underground rivers?

This book started when two octogenarian detectives investigate the death of a woman who has drowned - in her own home wearing completely dry clothes.

This novel is funny, ingenious and remarkably entertaining.

Read on

Watership Down: Richard Adams
Watership Down: Richard Adams

I like to think that I have pretty wide tastes when it comes to reading.

From the Beano to Balzac, that's me.

So a book about talking rabbits?

I don't think so.

Oh, I was so wrong.

This is a great book that has stood the test of time.

Click the link below to find out more.

Read more

White Heat: Marco Pierre White
White Heat: Marco Pierre White

Before today's crop of celebrity chefs there was Marco Pierre White, a young and distinctly unconventional restaurateur.

In fact, many of the celebrity chefs we see on the television were trained by Marco - the hard way.

This is an amazing recipe book but also a stylish volume in itself.

Here's the review.

Awaiting review

Bryant & May on the Loose: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant & May series Book 7)
Bryant & May on the Loose: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant & May series Book 7)

I love the Bryant and May series, which features two octogenarian police detectives in London.I'm reading this book at the moment and enjoying it immensely.Reviewing books is a wonderful excuse to read!

 

Next up for review

Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now
Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now

This is the book that I'm reading at the moment. It's fascinating.It has many quotes from all four Beatles, from George Martin and many others who were involved at the time.It also goes into detail about the whys and wherefores of the breakup of the band. Review coming soon!

 

Comments

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    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Hi Mel, I have many more to add too!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @smine27 - you have many treats ahead of you if you start to read some of these :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Linda - Watership Down is a totally enjoyable book, isn't it?

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      I see many books here that I've never heard of. I'm looking forward to working through your list (because it's not like I don't have a ton of ebooks on my library list already...LOL).

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thanks Paula!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I am not too familiar with British authors so this was especially helpful for me. Thanks!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      These books look fascinating - I'd like to read almost every one. Speaking of one... that's the number of books I've currently read from this list. One. I've read Watership Down... and I read that one only recently, within the last five years. I loved it! Rabbits are wonderful characters.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This is a very comprehensive list. Wow!

    • profile image

      t2d2 3 years ago

      I read a big selection of books from British authors, but many of these tittles never show up in the states. I'm glad that some of the local book shops often have second hand copies that would never appear in the States otherwise.

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      A great list. I need the inspiration for making my own list of Canadian books/ writers.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      A great list of books by British Authors! Still thousands to go!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Colin323: Well put, Colin. I think it's fair to say that it was the start of a whole new genre of British literature.

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      A Kind of Loving caught the sense of time and place well in mid 20th century Britain ... society on the cusp of big social changes, but not quite yet for the characters and inhabitants of South Yorkshire, where the book is set. A great book, and brilliant film.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: Thank you!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Wonderful way to assemble all the reviews - easy to follow and quickly get an overview of many books at the same time!