Hello! I’m Rosianna from the U.K.
and today I’m guest vlogging for EF to talk about great travel reads –
to read while visiting the U.K. As you can tell by the tabs on this one,
this is one of my favourites. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I first read this book when I
was about 11 or 12 years old. It’s about two sisters who
live in the ruins of a castle with their writer father and their stepmother. This novel is set in 1930s Britain and follows
the sisters as they fall in and out of love. They sell off furniture to pay for food
and learn to tell their own stories. Part of why I come back to this story
over and over again is because I love ruins and the way they talk about the castle reminds me of the sweeping abbeys
you can find around the U.K. Born and raised in London,
I am definitely a city girl, but I love visiting the countryside
because of stories like this one. Speaking of the city, White Teeth by Zadie Smith
is one of my absolute favourite books about London. It has the noise, the bustle and the voices of
London and Zadie Smith’s writing is like music. She’s one of my favourite authors.
All of her books are brilliant and explore different parts of
the London and British experience. If you’re new to Zadie Smith’s writing,
White Teeth is an excellent place to begin. Its play with time is quite gentle at first, and then it throws you into
all sorts of different narratives. “Later, Samad and Poppy walked up through
Harlesden, around Dollis Hill, and then, when it seemed they were hovering too near to
Willesden, Samad waited till the sun went down, bought a box of sticky Indian sweets,
and turned into Roundwood Park; admiring the last of the flowers.” Chances are that you’ve probably read
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, but I recommend a
reread before or during your trip. There are clear points of interest: Platform 9 ¾’s, or Tom Riddle’s Grave
or Edinburgh Castle, but you find yourself looking for
The Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and Hogwarts
down every cobbled alleyway, tucked away pub or castle ruin. What is it about castle ruins and me? J.K. Rowling and I actually
went to the same university and if you make it down to Exeter,
you might hear some outlandish claims about where some of the locations
in this book were based. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro may
not seem like a relaxing holiday read. This book is strange, quiet and often dark, taking place in a Britain where medical
ethics have spun out of control. One of Ishiguro’s many skills is
bringing out the eerie and haunting in the many benign landscapes in the U.K. The quiet, yet maybe sinister
protection of boarding school and the space between friends and lovers. The first instalment in Philip Pullman’s
His Dark Materials is Northern Lights, which begins in Oxford. It’s not quite the same Oxford you’d encounter
if you took a bus or train to the university town. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much to feel like you’ve stepped through
a window into Lyra’s Oxford. With its aura of Britain through the ages,
its pristine college buildings, and amazing university libraries. Oxford is also home to wonderful bookshops
and lovely coffee shops, bars and pubs in which to read your hoard of books
from all of those bookshops! Lastly, I feel like I’d be remiss
If I were making a video about books to read while you’re in the U.K.
and I didn’t mention the lovely Jane Austen. I’m not going to recommend
Pride and Prejudice today, though, because chances are you’ve read it. But Emma is my absolute favourite book of hers. “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich,
with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the
best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the
world with very little to distress or vex her.” Bath is the famous home of Jane Austen,
complete with the Jane Austen museum and lots of sites to see around the U.K.
where the various adaptations were filmed. This one’s chunky, too, so it will last you
at least a couple of days of your trip. I hope you enjoy these books.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks very much to EF for having me. Bye!