Thursday, June 03, 2010

What are you Reading Thursday with Carol Townend

Come see what's on Historicals author Carol Townend's bookshelf!

My tbr books roughly divide into three piles: a research pile; a pure pleasure pile and a travel pile.

My research tbr pile is the one that is tottering most, so that is the one I am concentrating on at the moment. Homer’s Iliad may sound an odd choice, but I’m currently working on a mini-series set in 11th Century Byzantium and since the Byzantines were very keen on Homer, I thought it would help get into the mind of my heroine if I reminded myself of some of the stories she would be familiar with. I recently re-watched Troy starring Brad Pitt as Achilles for the same reason. Well, that was my excuse…

Also on my research pile is Homer’s Odyssey for the same reasons, as well as Thomas Bullfinch’s Myths of Greece and Rome. None of the ancient gods or myths may even be mentioned in the final draft, I am writing an historical not a paranormal, but the mind works in mysterious ways and the odd mention of a labyrinth for example can add extra layers to a story.

The most important book in the research pile is Judith Herrin’s Byzantium, The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire. It is fascinating, I have read it several times already and am re-reading it because of my appalling memory!

And a new favourite is Byzantine Costume Paper Dolls. It is not easy finding good pictures of Byzantine costumes so there are to be no comments about this one being for children! (Although I do admit that many children’s history books are great for research.)

In the pure pleasure tbr pile, I have Anne Herries’ The Pirate’s Willing Captive as well as Michelle Willingham’s Taming Her Irish Warrior. I am really looking forward to these, but I am making myself space them out between the research books - management by incentive!

And then there is the travel pile – which is half way between research and pleasure. We are thinking of going to Tuscany for a few days, so Dorling Kindersley’s Italy is being thumbed through, as well as various maps of Tuscany, and a guide to Florence.

Her Banished Lord, the fifth and final title in Carol’s Wessex Weddings series is out in the UK at the beginning of June. For more details about this book and series, visit Carol’s blogsite:

ISBN 9780263875904 £3.99


  1. Hi Carol,

    The Byzantine paper dolls sound brilliant. Nothing wrong with children's books for research. Hope you enjoy your Homer. 'The Iliad' is a fascinating read (after you get past the catalogue of ships) with such interesting characters. I loved the language too, though it's been a while since I read it.

    Have you looked at John Julius Norwich's 'Byzantium'? Maybe another one for your research pile.

    Best wishes on your latest release.

  2. Of course there is also the Byzantium exhibition book from the Byzantine exhibit last year -- fantastic pictures. Your local libarary should be able to get you a copy.

  3. Hi Annie and Michelle,
    Yes, I have both the John Julius Norwich book and the Byzantium one from the exhibition. Both have been greedily devoured. The exhibition was jaw-dropping, I just wish the light had been a little stronger!

  4. I often use kids nonfiction for research! Especially those that are the 9-12 or so age group. They give a good overview of subjects. Our shelf is full of Usborne books!

  5. Hi Donna,
    Yes, Usborne books are good, also for historical research the Pitkin Guides are good, I have them on the Normans, on name it! (Anything with pictures really helps when visualising scenes etc)