Discover Britain through literature
In reality you're sitting in an armchair but in your mind you're in the depths of a faraway forbidden forest or perhaps in a cute little café in a side street with the Eiffel Tower on the distant skyline. Literature gives you the safety of travelling within the comforts of your own home, with a cup of tea in your hand and a cat sitting on your lap. I would like to take you on a journey through Great Britain. You can stay exactly where you are: no passport needed, no flight necessary, just an eagerness to explore. Through these novels you will be able to transport yourself and discover the beauty and the culture of Great Britain.
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Austen's romantic novel centres around the Bennet family during the 19th century and the importance of marriage and societal expectations. The style of the novel is mocking and the author uses exaggerated characters to make fun of the society.
Setting: Longbourn (a fictional town) in Hertfordshire
Compare your imagination with the real thing and visit Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
2. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
Witches, wizards and wands. It's highly unlikely that you've managed to avoid hearing of Harry Potter, even if you are a muggle. It is a fantastic series of novels which makes you believe in magic and that anything is possible.
Setting: Hogwarts (fictional, or is it?!)
Make the magic come alive and visit: Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Warner Bros Studios in Watford and Glenfinnan Viaduct.
3. Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging by Louise Rennison
The book presents the troubles of teenage girls: boys, boobs and being popular. It's a hilarious read and very relatable.
4. Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
One of the most famous detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes, uses his high intelligence and observation skills to solve mysteries.
Are you a good enough detective to understand who Sherlock Holmes is? If not, visit 'The Real Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour' in Edinburgh.
5. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
'Please, sir, I want some more.' The novel follows Oliver's life as an orphan in London and the characters he meets while living on the streets.
6. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
A teacher who uses her authority to influence and manipulate the pupils at an all girls school. Her teaching is unusual as they learn about love, beauty and dictatorship.
7. Ulysses by James Joyce
The story follows Leopold Storm and what happens on 16 June 1904. This is a tricky read but it is often thought of as one of the best novels in British literature.
8. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
In the novel, Llewellyn writes about a Welsh family and their life living among a mining community. It gives the reader a really good representation of the struggles faced by those living in this sort of community.
Setting: South Wales