Short Book Review: A Brief History of France by Cecil Jenkins

SBR: Unlike in case of Vietnam and Sri Lanka, the book I picked up to get an overview of French history turned out to be suitable for this purpose. A Brief History of France is readable with clear chronology and just the right amount of information. If you are not familiar with European history in general, you would have to do an Internet search once in a while for related events or people. But that is bound to happen while reading any book on history. There is no way an author can account for what all their readers do or do not know already. Don’t expect thoroughness, but everything major seems to have been covered. It does lean a bit too heavily towards modern history and compresses the ancient one too much. But that is a minor complain when the aim to get a quick and brief overview.
To read or not to read: Yes – as a good starting point for or as a quick overview of French history.

Short Book Review: Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

SBR: Bruno, Chief of Police is the first novel in a mystery series based in Dordogne region of France. I came across this book while researching for traveling in France. One of the travelers who visited that region had mentioned this series as one of her favorites! Since I am planning a trip there as well (fingers crossed for VISA), I decided to pick it up. A good mystery is always welcome as an entertaining read and the book didn’t disappoint.  It was rich in describing the local settings, people and landscape without getting boring with them. The best part of the story was that it draws you into the complicated past of the nation which can’t leave even the far countryside unscarred. However, it did get didactic about the history. At times the conversations in the books seemed to be have been penned solely for showing off the author’s historical research! In a mystery book, it is a put-off. But I was happy to know a little bit of history because I was anyway planning to follow it up with a book on History of France!
To read or not to read: Yes, if you like mystery or if you are planning to visit Dordogne and reading fiction set there is your idea of preparing for it!