HISTORY. 4 new books which have received excellent reviews:-
The Habsburgs by Martyn Rady
Mussolini's Italy by Richard Bosworth
Putin's People by Catherine Belton
Hitler: Only the World Was Enough by Brendan Simms
Historical novels of Harry Sidebottom based in The Roman Empire.
The author is Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at St Benet's Hall, Oxford, and lecturer at Lincoln College.
Start with a stand alone novel: The Lost Ten, set in The Persian Empire where a group of Roman soldiers are attempting a dangerous rescue. This is a derring-do novel with academic undertones (or should it be overtones?)!
He has also written the definitive history of Ancient Warfare in the Oxford Short History Series, simply called 'Ancient Warfare'.
POETRY. Two poems for the serious poetry lover requiring some effort but more than rewarded:-
Mercian Hymns by Geoffrey Hill. An eulogy on The West Midlands based around life of King Offa. The language is remarkable
Dart by Alice Oswald (Professor of Poetry at Oxford). Again wonderful use of words to describe the River Dart.
Both the above seem to me to be quintessentially English.
Two easier books of poetry which I love:-
Family Values by Wendy Cope
Sentenced to Life by Clive James
And, finally, back to childhood with Walter De La Mare's Peacock Pie.
PS I would be delighted to hear from any of you who have read any of the above and either enjoyed them or hated them!