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Books about Britain today

(16 Posts)
muddleduck Wed 07-Apr-10 12:09:51

following on from my book clear out (see other thread) I've been thinking alot about what my favourite books have in common.

I've realised that the vast majority of my fave books are set either in countries very different to the UK...

A Suitable Boy
God of Small Things
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Glass Palace
Fasting, Feasting
Book seller of Kabul

Or they are set in the past...

Remains of the day
Small Island

I guess like the insights they give into lives very different to my own. Made me think that there must me some good books that would give similar insights into lives of people closer to home that are different to mine.

Any suggestions?

londonartemis Wed 07-Apr-10 15:51:41

Not sure if you're asking for recommendations of books closer to home now?
But here are some which you might enjoy.

Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig - very contemporary look at north London.

Ordinary Thunderstorms - William Boyd, thriller set in London where the main character lives rough on the streets.

Short Orders - Graham Swift - set in London/Kent about old men (made into film with Michael Caine) who go to scatter the ashes of a long-time dead friend. Full of south London dialogue.

muddleduck Sat 10-Apr-10 16:11:16

thanks - that is exactly what I wanted.
I'll try these smile

realitychick Mon 12-Apr-10 18:01:26

Thanks for that William Boyd suggestion, Londonartemis. I love his writing and don't know that one.

30andMerkin Mon 12-Apr-10 22:41:45

You and I have quite similar taste in books!

I've just finished Hearts and Minds. Find it a bit 'polemic', if that's the right word, at times, but definitely very accurate for contemporary london.

Also try:
Zadie Smith White Teeth
Ian McEwan Saturday
Any of Marina Lewycka's - a lighthearted but sad look at immigrant lives in modern Britain.

30andMerkin Mon 12-Apr-10 22:42:48

Ah, just realised you don't like Zadie Smith, sorry!

elkiedee Mon 12-Apr-10 23:15:33

I've just really enjoyed Hearts and Minds. Also on the Orange Prize longlist is Roopa Farooki's The Way Things Look to Me, and perhaps a bit lighter, which I thought was a really lovely book.

Andrea Levy's first 3 novels have a more modern setting.

I'm looking round my shelves for other ideas but also like reading about other places and times. Do you like crime fiction?

muddleduck Tue 13-Apr-10 09:48:31

Thanks for these suggestions.

30andMerkin
I love 'Saturday' so you're right we do have similar taste smile
I did enjoy White Teeth (and on Beauty), there was just something about them that irritated me abit.

elkiedee - I love crime fiction too. Just finished the first two 'girl with the dragon tattoo' books and have recently worked my way through everything written by Ian Rankin blush

hocuspontas Tue 13-Apr-10 09:54:41

Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew. I loved this book. Well written and matter-of-fact about the lives of a group of youngsters in inner-city Britain.

30andMerkin Tue 13-Apr-10 09:57:38

Also Blake Morrison, South of the River.

Oh and lots of Tony Parsons are UK based for something a bit lighter.

JeffVadar Tue 13-Apr-10 18:05:04

I really liked 'the Northern Clemency' by Philip Hensher, about a group of families who are neighbours in Sheffield. It has a slightly Suitable Boy-ish feel as it covers a period of time as the children grow up during the 1980s.

Also Tim Pears, particularly 'In a Land of Plenty'.

deaddei Wed 14-Apr-10 15:31:09

ooh my sort of thread!
Loved Hearts and Minds, Urban Grimshaw (I'm from Leeds) and Northern Clemency.
Glasshopper is good, but can't remember who wrote it.

muddleduck Thu 15-Apr-10 09:00:25

hi ladies grin

I've just ordered a stack of books from amazon - will let you know how I get on.

given that we seem to have similar tastes, maybe we could keep the thread ticking over with any good books that we read?

londonartemis Thu 15-Apr-10 21:14:46

Will look forward to hearing what you think of your new collection!

elkiedee Fri 16-Apr-10 13:25:25

Muddleduck, for crime fiction, Denise Mina and John Harvey might be worth a try - and most of their work isn't set in London for a change. Christopher Brookmyre. Lots of social comment there.

There are also lots of quite quirky writers who set private eye and noir fiction in small UK towns rather than the huge American cities - I haven't read them yet but want to read Malcolm Pryce's Aberystwyth series.

SarkySpanner Sat 06-Aug-11 14:45:49

Is it 'bad form' to bump an old thread?

There are done great recommendations here!

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