Britain should be commonly known as the land of great literature. Almost all the best books come from America’s motherland; Austen, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Lewis, and so many other recognizable and celebrated names.
These books are perfect for anglophiles and bibliophiles and should always be read with a steaming mug of Earl Grey.
North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell wrote many books and short stories and is famous for detailing the lives of Victorian society in all classes. North and South is one of her more well known novels, though many of her works contain British-worthy romances and values.
English country sides are iconic in literature. While North and South takes place mostly amidst a bustling Northern city, the book pays homage to the simplicity of country life and contrasts it to the busyness of high-paced industrialism. Both sides of period England are done justice and represented in the book alongside a Jane Austen worthy romance.
Not only does the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling take place in Britain but also appeals to younger and more modern audiences.
One feature in the series I am keen to shed light on is the lengthy, descriptive, and delicious passages describing English cuisine. From dining in the Great Hall to luncheon at the Burrow, Harry, being a hungry teenage boy, takes a great interest in noticing exactly what is on his plate.
The books include lots of treacle tart (Harry’s favorite), black pudding, steak-and-kidney pie, porridge, and kippers.
George Orwell is often forgotten on lists of English authors. Though being born in India, he lived almost the whole of his life in Britain. 1984 is one of his finest works.
While this dystopian book might not have lots of tea drinking or polite conversation, it does reflect the British spirit of “onwards and upwards,” though not in a way that one may think. It takes quite a lot to get the main character to realize that there should be forward movement in society, not backward.
I am sad to say I watched the movie before I read the book on this one. Charles Dickens might be known for A Christmas Carol but it is David Copperfield that lives in my bookshelf.
“Keep calm and carry on” cannot be demonstrated better than it is in David Copperfield. Following the life of a young boy to manhood and the many ups and downs, mountains and valleys, triumphs and trials of his life. Even in the darkest times of one’s life good, even wonderful, things can be found if one knows to look for and appreciate them.
Of all of Dickens’ works, the book reflects his life almost like a mirror image. And what can be more British than the man of the people, Charles Dickens?
Much Ado About Nothing
Ah, the Bard, of course. Nothing British can be spoken of without mentioning William Shakespeare, the truest of poets and playwrights.
Although Much Ado About Nothing does not take place in Britain (the setting is Messina, Sicily), the play portrays the ideal of British social grace better than any of the other Shakespeare plays. Honor and virtue are prized above all else, even life itself.
These books belong on every true Anglophile’s shelf. These stories are almost as British as tea…almost.