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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50 Children’s Books All Adults Should Read

By | Children's Literature, Polls and Discussion | No Comments
For our latest on site poll we quizzed you for some recommendations on children’s books that have a good message for adults too. We counted almost a thousand replies and from those we have a list of 50 children’s books all adults should read.

Of course we don’t want to dictate what you should read, but from your votes we have a list of fifty children’s books that you recommended! We’re sure many of you will have your own suggestions too, feel free to add them in the comments. Read More

Hit of the Lits: FRA Top 40 – May

By | Hit of the Lits!, Literature | 2 Comments

Hit of the Lits – FRA Top 40

Every month we collate your reading habits to create a Top 40 chart of your reads from the previous month. Last month’s list was totally dominated with television and movie adaptations as many of you rushed to read the book before you read the adaptation, and this month is also thoroughly influenced by things coming to the big screen pretty soon!

Thanks so much to the 500 people who voted on their favourite reads, giving us a list of over 150 books and a top 40 that we’ll share with you now!

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9 Toxic Men from Literature

By | Polls and Discussion | One Comment
To us, the literary characters we read are read people who live inside our heads. We want to be some of them, we want to be with others, then there are the ones that are absolutely vile and truly toxic. So today we’re going in for a little literary man-bashing as we look at the most toxic men from literature.

These are my personal suggestions, and we’re sure you’ll have a few of your own too. Let’s see if you agree with my top ten creeps from the pages of our favourite novels. Read More

10 Literary Badasses You’d Want Backing You up in a Bar Fight

By | Literature, Polls and Discussion | No Comments
Picture the scene: You’re in a quiet pub or bar, catching up with your friends and telling one another about the latest books you’ve been reading. Suddenly a group of rowdy drunkards come over and start hassling you. Being the good natured bibliophile you are, you try to politely brush them off, but they’re just not getting the hint. Suddenly the unthinkable happens. One of the goons picks up a book from your bag, creases the spine and then, to your horror, tears out a page. Patrons rush to leave the bar as fast as they can as you flip the table and snatch your book back. It’s only then that the thugs realise your friends happen to be 10 of the most badass characters from fiction. As fisticuffs ensue, you feel reassured to know you’re being covered by the following tough cookies…

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