10 Books for the TBR if You Loved Tom Hardy’s Taboo

By February 24, 2017Polls and Discussion, Television

Am I the only one sucked into the weird and wonderful world of Taboo? The show is currently airing on the BBC, in the US and on Amazon Prime, starring Tom Hardy. It’s his own production, written by his father, and it’s about the most darkly different show on the television right now.

Taboo has aired to mixed reviews, but generally the reception has been good. What it lacks sometimes in dialogue it makes up for in sheer weirdness full of magic, incest and surrealism, and some fantastic imagery.

Adventurer James Delaney builds his own shipping empire in the early 1800s, but now he is dead and his son is back from the dead to claim his inheritance. With themes of slavery, colonialism, magical realism, and many taboo subjects, the show is set in the early 19th Century, mostly in London and heavily features the East India Dock Company and the war with America.

Hardy plays the role well with shades of Oliver Reed’s Sikes, grunting and mono-syllabic, while still owning every inch of the screen he possesses, and if you’ve enjoyed Season 1 as much as me then we have some books to recommend while we await the now confirmed second season!

The Devil’s Company – David Liss

If you’re interested in the East India Company and you’d like another novel set around the same scenery then The Devil’s Company is a fantastic murder mystery, full of intrigue, darkness and suspense. It’s the third in a series but the only one set around the East India Dock and it stands alone pretty well.

The Devil’s Company US
The Devil’s Company UK

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The Honourable Company – John Keay

And if that doesn’t quench your appetite then The Honourable Company is a great nonfiction read. Written in a relaxed narrative it covers the history of the world’s greatest trading power.

The Honourable Company US
The Honourable Company UK

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The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 – Antony Wild

The East India thrived through a time of Imperialism, slavery and darkness and this complete nonfiction history is an essential read if you’d like to know more about how the East India company became the biggest global superpower even known.

The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 US
The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600 UK

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Journal of the Plague Year – Daniel Defoe

If Downton Abbey is Jane Austen then Taboo is Daniel Defoe. Defoe was known for writing about themes of Imperialism and colonialism in Robinson Crusoe but in Journal of the Plague Year he speaks of one man’s experience of the year 1665, the Great Plague. It’s gritty realism at its very best with that dark Gothic theme you’re looking for.

Journal of the Plague Year US
Journal of the Plague Year UK

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Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

While we’re on the classics we have to mention Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a dark novel told from a boat on the River Thames. Protagonist Marlow tells his friends of a voyage up the Congo River and shows it’s hard to tell the civilised from the savages when it comes to the crunch. Hardy has specifically mentioned channelling both Marlow, and Dickens’ Sikes for the role, giving this novel specific meaning.

Heart of Darkness US
Heart of Darkness UK

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The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

We’re leaving London but we’re sticking with the classics, much magical realism and a vodka drinking cat as we head to Soviet Russia for the Master and Margarita. It’s not an easy read but it’s well worth it if you stick it out.

The Master and Margarita US
The Master and Margarita UK

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A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E Schwab

If you love the fantasy element of Taboo then try A Darker Shade of Magic. Adult fantasy set in parallel Londons. Not quite so dark as Taboo, it’s full of magic, fast-paced and complex and is on the upper end of quality adult fantasy novels.

A Darker Shade of Magic US
A Darker Shade of Magic UK

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Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd

Whitbread Award winner and Guardian Fiction winner 1985 is Hawksmoor, a parallel tale that switches between 18th century London and 1980s London. It’s dark and full of mysticism, human sacrifice, murder and suspense and should quench your appetite if you want more Taboo!

Hawksmoor US
Hawksmoor UK

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Hairy London – Stephen Palmer

High fantasy set in Edwardian London, Hairy London is full of magical realism, dark alleys and weird and wonderful characters. Fast paced and surreal, it’s a real page turner, as odd as Taboo, but overall rewarding.

Hairy London US
Hairy London UK

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The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola

Set in London in 1837, The Unseeing is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress sentenced to hang for the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. It’s a twisting tale of family secrets and an intricate plot worthy of the Delaneys.

The Unseeing US
The Unseeing UK

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5 Fascinating Books about the Sinking of the RMS Titanic

By | News, Polls and Discussion | No Comments
On 14th April 1912, the biggest passenger ship ever built, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. In the early hours of 15th April, the ‘unsinkable’ RMS Titanic sank. Of the 2,224 passengers on board, more than 1,500 died making it the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. Read More

Hit of the Lits: FRA Top 40 Books – March

By | Hit of the Lits! | No Comments

Hit of the Lits – FRA Top 40

Every month we ask you guys on our social media channels what reads you’ve loved over the past month, and from these replies we create our Top 40 chart, like the Top of the Pops but for books. It gives you a chance to see what others in the group are reading and get some recommendations, and thanks to all who joined in this month, giving us our top 40. Read More

Top 50 Worst Film Adaptations According to You

By | Literature, Polls and Discussion | 3 Comments
Film adaptations of our favourite books can be worrisome: will they cast the right people, will the story mirror what we have read, will they change the ending? We asked you this question- “Which book’s film adaptation would you like to see dumped in the bargain bin?” and oh boy, did you have some answers! We ended up with over 1500 votes for over 50 different adaptations which were found to rattle our Reading Addicts.

Unfortunately we couldn’t include the answer “All of them!” that some of you offered, but instead we have collected and collated all your other answers and here are the results.

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6 Books that Capture the Spirit of Rock and Roll

By | Polls and Discussion | No Comments
Rock and Roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s. While many will instantly think of Elvis, Rock and Roll, or Rock ‘n’ Roll actually has its roots in African American musical styles and is influenced by gospel, Jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues.

Pioneered by singers such as the Boswell Sisters and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, it would be big names like Chuck Berry who would go down in history as creating this new genre. Read More

10 Books for the TBR if You Loved Tom Hardy’s Taboo

By | Polls and Discussion, Television | No Comments
Am I the only one sucked into the weird and wonderful world of Taboo? The show is currently airing on the BBC, in the US and on Amazon Prime, starring Tom Hardy. It’s his own production, written by his father, and it’s about the most darkly different show on the television right now.

Taboo has aired to mixed reviews, but generally the reception has been good. What it lacks sometimes in dialogue it makes up for in sheer weirdness full of magic, incest and surrealism, and some fantastic imagery. Read More



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