Stocking fillers?

Last updated on August 23rd, 2023 at 11:09 am

Books for stocking fillers

Someone remonstrated with me the other day, saying that I could do more to promote my books.  Being the sort of chap that always takes advice, I have consequently embarked upon a brazen, crass, plug of the most vulgar kind.  Buy one of my books!  No – buy two!  If I publish another, buy that as well.  If you have already done that, buy several more as gifts for people with insomnia.  The answer to the question, “What do you get the person that has everything?” is not “penicillin”.  The answer is A Bit About Britain’s History and/or A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays.

There is still time to do this before Christmas – but you need to get a move on if you want a hard copy.  Click/tap this link to read all the blurb, reviews – and promptly add one or more books to your basket.

A Bit About Britain’s History

A Bit About Britain’s History does exactly what the title suggests.  It provides an unpretentious general background to Britain’s story – a gentle introduction, or reminder, of how we came to be here, from the first humans to the 20th century. It puts people and places in context. It explodes a few myths and shows that history is rarely black and white. It is perfect for the student who wants to know what happened either side of the period they are studying, the person that disliked history at school, but wants to know a bit now, even visitors to these shores who want to know a bit about Britain.  The book includes useful timelines from prehistory to the year 2000.

A Bit About Britain's History, book

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays celebrates some of our Big Days – New Year, Burns’ Night, Valentine’s Day, saints’ days, Easter, Halloween, Guy Fawkes’, Armistice Day – and, of course, Christmas.  It includes the A-Z of Christmas, which explains the origins of some of our traditions.  What is Boxing Day, why is not stir-up Sunday anything to do with baking and who on earth wants to go wassailing?!  Of course, a book isn’t just for Christmas. At the end of High Days and Holidays is a section on Britain’s calendar, which lists annual events and notable days through the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and Winter.  You will never need to miss Rutland Day or the Allendale Baal Festival again.

High Days and Holidays

What do people say?

Thank you to everyone who has left a review of either book anywhere, including on Amazon, Goodreads and Twitter.  Reviews are like gold dust for self-published authors, so particularly appreciated.  Here is a selection of extracts for A Bit About Britain’s History:

“Multum in Parvo…a super overview of the history of Britain.”

“Beautifully written, engaging from beginning to end.”

“A fascinating, accessible, and often amusing look at British history.”

“This book should be required reading in all schools!”

“Downloaded it last week and literally every chapter leaves you thirsting to go and find out more about our wonderful history.”

“I cannot remember how I came across this book, but I am SO glad that I did. History was one of my worst subjects at school, which I think was mainly due to the teacher’s bland presentation. Mike Biles’ way of describing the multitude of happenings that formed our country kept me enthralled and I happily devoured the whole book in an amazingly (for me) short time. Thank you Mr Biles, for this rather late addition to my education (I am only 71).”

And a few for A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays –

“Another corker from this author!!”

“This is a great book for dipping in and out of to discover some of Britain’s quirky traditions. Written in Mike Biles’ entertaining style I would highly recommend.”

“The author shares his extensive knowledge of Britain with a good dollop of humour, which makes it an even better read.”

“… a book any history buff and Anglophile in your family would love to receive.”

“Why did I spit my coffee over my lap and my hitherto pristine copy of this book? Well, the author won’t mind a brief “spoiler” when I say that the august figure of Robert Burns is (accurately) referred to as a chap whose brain was generally used as merely a periscope for his willie. If you don’t know what a ‘willie’ is then please, don’t look it up. I could have finished reading the book there and then; the author had earned his meagre royalty.  What made me curse the author? Christmas. Specifically the author’s criminal disregard for the magnificent creature that is the Brussels Sprout. At that point I wanted my money back.”

“Funny, fascinating and informative. I’ve been a fan of Mike’s blog for years and his books are just the ticket if you’re planning a trip to Britain or just plain curious about why Brits do those strange things that they do…”

Both books are available from an Amazon store near you.

Plug over. Normal service will be resumed as soon as I’ve finished my Christmas shopping – which at this rate might be sometime in the New Year.

23 thoughts on “Stocking fillers?”

  1. It seems somewhat weird to me that one of the first comments that jumped out of these pages when I signed up, was about sprouts – or Christmas peas, as we deceitfully called them when our young children shoved them uneaten to the side of the plate.
    Then…. somewhere, from some long-forgotten moment, I read the following tip: add a decent sized spoonful of sugar to the water if you really must boil them. It works, yes, really does neutralise the bitterness.
    That said, those poor ‘deceived’ children now tell me to roast the ‘Christmas peas’, but, of course, I still parboil them in sweetened water beforehand. Delicious!
    A sprout is for life, not just for Christmas.

  2. Normal service will be resumed as soon as you have finished your Christmas shopping, which of course takes ages. So could you not gather up enough copies of your books, sign each one personally, wrap in different gift paper and tell each relative and friend you were thinking exclusively of their tastes and preferences 🙂 I would love a history book.

  3. ‘When at school we were told that if we could understand all the jokes and allusions in ‘1066 and All That’ we could pass any exam in English history. For those who fail the 1066 test, ‘A Bit About Britain’s History’ is your salvation. Accurate history dosed with real humour. I wish he had not mentioned sprouts, though….the one I get in Costa Rica are lousy. No frost.

  4. John @ Stargoose and Hanglands

    I can think of nicer things I’ve found inside stockings, though books are about the best I can hope for these days!

  5. I’m obviously going to have to reassess my opinion of you in light of the not liking sprouts thing. Mine will have to be boiled for less time this year, due to the cost of gas, so I’ll probably get them started on Wednesday rather than today.

  6. HI Mike – I loved your history one … I’ve got it here and it’s an excellent reference tool, as well as an educating one … I highly recommend it – cheers and have a great Christmas. Hilary

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