Top Ten Very British Books, In No Particular Order

Some days it seems like every American just has this strange obsession with the people coming from the British Isles. Something about an accent, maybe, something about the cultural remnants of colonialism, maybe…whatever it is, quite a lot of American culture seems to have a complex of Anglophilia.

And we here at Bibliobibuli are no exception. In fact, we find British books to be a valuable, interesting, fun read almost all of the time, although there are books we feel are just exceptionally British.

Well, dear readers, grab some jammy dodgers and a cup of your favourite tea, because here is our Very British List of Books, in No Particular Order.


 Harry Potter And the Sorcerer’s Stone, (Harry Potter Series)

by J.K. Rowling

For many of us of a certain age, Harry Potter is what truly introduced us to the concept of anglomania, or at least how awesome the British are. Favorites of everyone on the planet, there is little more I can say, besides the fact that Harry Potter was my own first introduction to anglomania–long since fueled by cute accents and good TV shows.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes,  (Sherlock Holmes Series)

by Arthur Conan Doyle

Many of you tumblr users may only be familiar with the name ‘Sherlock’ from repeated exclamations about Benedict Cumberbatch. But, a quick review of history shows that fans of Sherlock Holmes have always, ALWAYS been insane. With, might I add, good reason, because these books are marvels of intelligence and wit–and thus exemplify Britishness almost as much as tea.

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? (Montmorency #1)

by Eleanor Updale

If you have ever read anything on this blog, you’ve probably heard a little bit about my obsession with the Victorian eras. What I especially love about Updale’s series is that it shows the grimy, dark underworld happening at the same time as all the fancy Victoriana society. These books give you a taste of a side of British history not often explored, and in a classy, über-British kind of way.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 

by Susanna Clarke

While including magic and therefore being not quite accurate, this is still one of the most British novels to ever British–I mean, the BBC made a TV show out of it. With meticulous attention to detail. Susanna Clarke makes it feel as though you are stepping into a fully fleshed out, rather eccentric, utterly British world.

More on this here .

Pride and Prejudice OR Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

by Jane Austen; Seth Grahame-Smith

Yes, Pride and Prejudice is an absolute staple of British lit, one of the most British novels to ever British, and if you haven’t read it go do so IMMEDIATELY. And yet, for those of you who have already read the original, or are bored by Regency romance, I highly suggest Seth Grahame-Smith’s interpretation, which replaces all the dull romantic parts with Zombie battles. Highly entertaining, in my opinion.

Ruby Red (Ruby Red Trilogy, #1)

by Kerstin Gier

Although Kirsten Gier is, in fact, German, there is still the feeling that she accomplished something British in her ‘Ruby Red’ series. Having never been a British teenager, I can’t say this with any certainty, but there is the impression she has captured something of the British teenager in a funny and endearing way. And, while reading this, you can get a lovely snapshot of British History through the ages (particularly the Georgian Era). More on the book here, and check out the fun stuff as well.

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Series #1) 

by Libba Bray

Can you actually get any more British than boarding schools? Answer: no, you cannot. And Libba Bray writes about them beautifully, including a darkly magical setting and a questioning subplot into what was already perfect Britishness. My love for Libba Bray knows no bounds, but it was sparked by this series.

 The Sword in the Stone/The Lost Years (Lost Years of Merlin #1)

by T.H. White/ T.A. Barron

You cannot, absolutely cannot, get much more British than King Arthur and Merlin. Being utterly unable to choose, I have provided you with TWO avenues of exploring the myths. T.H. White is, of course, the traditional voice, and if you haven’t read his version of The Sword in the Stone, or The Once and Future King, I’m not sure how you avoided it. For a more fantastical feel,  go for T.A. Barron’s series about Merlin’s years on Avalon. Both are, unquestionably, British.

Catherine, Called Birdy

by Karen Cushman

I talk a lot about the Victorian Era, but any era of British history intrigues me, and Karen Cushman displays an era few people really know about, the 1200’s. Catherine, Called Birdy, is my absolute favorite, thanks to the humour and wit of Birdy, but everything Karen Cushman writes is both educational and quintessentially British.

Code Name Verity  (Code Name Verity #1)

by Elizabeth Wein

I have harped on this SO MUCH, but this is a book which everyone needs to read. Exploring both the setting and history of WWII (with particular regard to spies/airplanes) and the enduring beauty of friendship, there are few books which manage to top Verity in absolute Britishness. Plus, it kind of exemplifies the motto ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, or at least the incredible, awesome persistence displayed in WWII.

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Disclaimer: The cover pictures were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. None belong to us.

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