I loved Watching the English - what else will I like?

(9 Posts)
NicknameTaken Fri 01-Jun-12 10:18:55

notcitrus, I've ordered that book!

OP, you might like A Field Guide to the English by Sarah Lyall. It's not quite as good as Watching the English - from an American perspective, and very much confined to the upper classes, but I liked it anyway.

exexpat - I loved that one too. It sounds wrong to say, but it has the funniest description of an attempted sexual assault, foiled by the intended victim, that I've ever read.

exexpat Fri 01-Jun-12 00:55:01

You might enjoy Can Any Mother Help Me - more social history than current social commentary, it's about a group of women who started what sounds like a small, pre-internet prototype of Mumsnet, involving circulating newsletters between them by post. Much more fascinating than it sounds!

oldgreyknickertest Fri 01-Jun-12 00:45:37

In a slightly different vein but v funny, two books about or by the dowager duchess of devonshire, one of the mitfords,

In tearing haste, her letters to Patrick leigh fermor. Wait for me, a series of memories of hers, and of course the letters between all of them.

Have you read her sister Nancy Mitford? V v funny novels about the 20s and 30s? I love The Blessing most. But the others are more famous. I also love her sister Jessica's biting book on the American way of death.

If you want short social satire, I think Alan Bennett's the uncommon reader about the queen is the funniest and most tender and hard hitting of recent books. Beautifully written.

WhyTheBigPaws Thu 31-May-12 21:56:44

Yes the Paxman book is quoted a lot in Watching the English. I've read The Last Debutante too so you're definitely on the right lines!

oldgreyknickertest Thu 31-May-12 20:30:34

Jeremy paxman on the English?

You might enjoy Malcolm gladwell outliers.

Bryson on the English house and the English language

Fiona mccarthy the last debutante.
Stella tillyard aristocrats.

notcitrus Wed 23-May-12 20:45:46

There's also this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Likes-Us-Biography-Working/dp/1862077789

Biography of the white working class - quite interesting though it claims not to dwell too much on how awful it was back in 1900 and to go into detail about why the working classes didn't get on later, whereas it actually does loads of the former and very little of the later except to say the working class weren't interested in literacy when finally offered a decent education, but no mention of why.

WannaBeWildCosMyLifesSoTame Wed 23-May-12 16:29:51

That sounds good - forgot to say I've also recently read Jilly Cooper's Class so clearly more interested in that side of things than I realise from spending too much time on class-obsessed MN perhaps?

notcitrus Wed 23-May-12 16:28:23

Try this

People like Us - a season among the upper classes.
Explains what the upper class actually does nowadays.

WannaBeWildCosMyLifesSoTame Wed 23-May-12 15:44:33

Just finished Watching the English by Kate Fox and loved it, found it very funny and insightful. Would love to read more in this vein - not necessarily about Englishness/class etc but, I suppose you'd call it social commentary? I've read a bit of Bill Bryson which I think is similar, what else might be worth a try?

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