Last week I talked about some of my favorite cozy mysteries. This week I offer some of my other favorite books from the last year.
My research reading ranges far and wide. Huge sections of it, though, revolve around British History. Here are a few of the non-fiction books I found memorable and useful.
The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare by Brenda James and William D Rubinstein. Until I found this book I didn’t care who wrote Shakespeare. I gloried in the language, the timeless stories, and the universal truths written 400 years ago. I’m still not certain how important it is to know for sure who wrote the plays and sonnets, because by golly, “The Play’s the thing.” But this book gave me a new perspective on the history and politics of the era and an understanding of why William Shakespeare “could not” have written the work attributed to him.
Mallory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur’s Chronicler by Christina Hardyment. Most of the time I read biographies as much for the history and culture surrounding the subject as knowledge about that one person. After reading this I have a better understanding of the turbulent and confusing years known as The War of the Roses in English history. I’ve also gained an appreciation of Mallory’s life work that inspired an entire sub genre of fiction.
Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, And Pyrotechnics: The History of the Explosive That Changed The World by Jack Kelly. This is a light read with simple explanations for the physics of an explosion that even I could understand. It demonstrates why some formulas work, the problem with primitive gun and cannon design and how the solutions happened. It has opened a lot of fun possibilities for future writing projects
Phyllis Irene Radford blogs here on Thursdays. She edited the first two Book View Press e-book only anthologies Rocket Boy and the Geek Girls and Shadow Conspiracy: Tales From The Age of Steam.http://www.bookviewcafe.com/BVC-eBookstore/
Currently running on the front page free rotation of Book View Café is her cozy mystery “Lacing Up For Murder by Irene Radford” Check out her bookshelf for chapter by chapter free serialization or to download the full novel for $4.99