We in this United Kingdom are particularly close to the source of all reading material, both from a technical viewpoint, and from an imaginative outlook as well! William Caxton didn’t invent the printing press, but published the first printed book in English, ‘Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres’, and we hold some of the finest authors and lyricists in the entire world as primarily British. From the first country song summer is a-cummin in, through the glories of Shakespeare, Bacon and Marlowe, the finely drawn family portraits of Austen, the social commentaries of Dickens to the multitude of writers extant today, we have a veritable harvest from which to inform or relax within, for there are few things better than a good book to rest both mind and body!
Writing from my own aspect, I would like to draw your mind’s eye towards some of my own favourites such as the political and social writer Howard Spring, and his commentary on ambition named ‘Fame is the Spur; the Yorkshire industrial and mining chronicles of Thomas Armstrong, the modern political/action epics of Tom Clancy, the naval ‘Hornblower’ classics of C.S. Forrester, the action novels of Gerald Seymour , inclusive of possibly the best detailed novel about a long-range sniper ever written, the early books of Alastair Mclean, ( the later ones were rubbish!); three novels by an American named Ellis K Meacham, in the spirit of ‘how not to do things’ Jeffrey Archer, the novel, “The Killer Angels, from Michael Shaara, an American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner; and finally, my own literary hero, the books of Nevil Shute. The last named, to my mind was truly the modern giant of literature, but largely forgotten these days in favour of contemporary writers with less than one percent of his talent. His was the magic of painting, in a few sparse lines and paragraphs, a growing picture of a story which would reside in the reader’s mind, to carry that same reader along the path which was painted, and to conclude that story and painting in such a way as to ensure that the reader was always wanting more! I make no apology for my liking for this Englishman, as his writings gave me the spur to try and produce my own. His early training as an aeronautical engineer, so vividly described in “Slide Rule” gave him the grounding from which sprang his masterpieces such as “Round the Bend” and “Trustee from the Toolroom”, and the world is the lesser place for his passing in 1960.
Whichever book you pluck from the shelves, whether to buy or borrow, be it a new book from a new author, or an old favourite to be re-visited, is always an adventure in mind and memory! Please note that I specifically do not say that my choices are those which everyone should follow, or use, or even adhere to; simply that the printed word is truly vast, and to read is to enhance your very being!