Exactly What I Wanted: Non-Fiction

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



About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: www.ireneradford.net Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.


Exactly What I Wanted: Non-Fiction — 4 Comments

  1. Not having read “The Truth will out”, I find it fascinating that you are now convinced that Shakespeare couldn’t have written all he wrote – that’s because I listened to Bill Bryson’s audio book on what are the actual available sources to make conclusions from and whether they play into the Shakespeare was Shakespeare/was a single other writers/was many other writers team.

    And I found his conclusion (that we have hardly any true sources of the time anyway, but there’s no reason why Shakespeare couldn’t have been Shakespeare) also completely convincing ^^.

    As all Bill Bryson books it’s a fun read for neophyte and connoisseur alike. He reads the audio book himself, I think.

  2. Hi Phyl – those sound like interesting books, but I’ll admit, I don’t have a lot of patience for the “Shakespeare was too educated/smart/cultured to have been the man known as ‘Will Shakespeare,’ he instead had to have been (insert name from Bacon to Queen Elizabeth) here.”

  3. Ah, the Elizabeth I boondoggle! I’ve always loved the notion that a royal–particularly a female royal– living what was the most public sort of life, might have sneaked out to write 30+ plays and poems in her spare time. Cause really, she had nothing else to do (and who would have noticed?).

  4. I still don’t really care if Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare or not. It’s the wonder of the work that’s important. But this book presented some interesting arguments and some great history of the politics and lifestyle of the period. Also offers some interesting insight into the history plays.

    It’s a good read.