Happy New Year to all readers everywhere! We have decided that this is the year to start blogging in earnest again and we have plenty of great books to entertain you! Apologies for our absence for a while, we have been three people running two busy libraries in a split site school, and now, with an eagerly anticipated new member of staff arriving, we hope to return regularly!
As usual, after the Christmas holidays, we asked our well-read members of staff to provide recommendations for the New Year and so we’ll highlight these over a few posts, and would welcome any comments you may have…
The first reflects the holiday readings of our illustrious Head of Economics, Mr Cowie. He has suggested both fiction and non-fiction and begins with Peter May’s series of books known as The Lewis Trilogy which comprises The blackhouse, The Lewis man and The chessman. Of these novels, Mr Cowie says:
“Set on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides – three detective novels. Quite dark in terms of the plots and brilliant descriptions of the locality. It always seems to be raining!”
The stories’ central character is Fin Macleod, born and bred on the island, who returns after a time spent working a Detective Inspector in Edinburgh, and finds himself caught up in investigating crimes on the island which take him back into his past and then on into his present…
Mr Cowie’s second and third choices reflect his interest in current affairs and history. The first of these is entitled The Germans and Europe by Peter Millar. Mr Cowie’s thoughts invite further investigation by new readers:
“Of interest to the few Germanophiles around. Written from and about 9 German cities – of which 3 are no longer in Germany.”
“Based on a lifetime living in and reporting on Germany and Central Europe, award-winning journalist and author Peter Millar tackles the fascinating and complex story of the people at the heart of our continent. Focusing on nine cities (only six of which are in the Germany of today) he takes us on a zigzag ride back through time via the fall of the Berlin Wall through the horrors of two world wars, the patchwork states of the Middle Ages, to the splendour of Charlemagne and the fall of Rome, with side swipes at everything on the way, from Henry VIII to the Spanish Empire… Not just a book about Germany but about Europe as a whole and how we got where we are today, and where we might be tomorrow.” (Nielsen Bookdata Online, accessed 23 January 2018).
Finally, we encounter Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution by John Morrill. Of this, Mr Cowie says:
“The French are always boasting about their ridiculous revolution but ours came first and was far superior. Why it is not taught in the 6th form I shall never understand.”
“John Morrill has been at the forefront of modern attempts to explain the origins, nature and consequences of the English Revolution. These twenty essays — seven either specially written or reproduced from generally inaccessible sources — illustrate the main scholarly debates to which he has so richly contributed: the tension between national and provincial politics; the idea of the English Revolution as “the last of the European Wars of Religion”; its British dimension; and its political sociology. Taken together, they offer a remarkably coherent account of the period as a whole.” (Nielsen Bookdata Online, accessed 23 January 2018).
With such an interesting collection of books for reading during the holidays, I think this takes care of my reading list for next summer! I believe that I’ll need more than the shorter period we had for these winter days. If you are a reader of crime novels and interested in well-written history books, here’s a ready-made selection for you. Do write to us with more suggestions and comments on these, if you have read them as well.