A History of the World in 100 Object – Audio CD
By: Neil MacGregor (Author and narrator)
If you’ve not stumbled across this yet, then you’re in for a treat. Written by Neil MacGregor, director of the British Library and recorded in partnership with the BBC, This series of recordings explores the history of the world through 100 carefully chosen objects from the British Museums vast selection of treasures, objects that somehow epitomise a whole period of cultural history and identify. Each episode is about half an hour long and includes a description of the object, its basic history and how it came to be in the museum, along with interviews with specialists and of course Neil MacGregor’s own overarching insights and thoughts.

UNESCO General History of Africa – Methodology and African Pre-History
by J. Ki-Zerbo (Editor)
This is quite specific to my own research and writing, and I stumbled across my copy in an old bookshop in the Historic town of Helmsley North Yorks on a day out. A chance find it may have been, but a priceless reference it’s been since, I only wish I could find a way to include more of the information i’ve come across in this book into my novels.

While it’s detailed its also easy reading for anyone with even a passing interest. In copy a lot of the pictures and illustrations are black and white, but they do the job.

When I have the cash I hope to start adding some of the other UNESCO General History texts to my library, there are quite a few of them though, so it might take me a while.

Classical Archaeology
by Susan E. Alcock & Robin Osborne (Editors)
This is another lucky find I stumbled across in one of my local bookshops while stopping off for a coffee one lunchtime. And like the general history of Africa it’s incredibly well written, but in a way that makes the subject matter very accessible. In terms of research I found this text useful because it not only provides a great grounding in the archaeology of the period, but also quite a lot of history about the study archaeology, who went where and used or invented what methods.

This book contains countless rich veins of information, which I felt I could only use a tiny fraction of in my own writing, but it was very enjoyable read, and going forward I just know i’ll refer back to this book time and again.

Countless photographs, maps and illustrations, all black and white but appropriate and interesting, as opposed to the cover art, which it has to be said was almost bad enough to put me off picking the book up in the first place, But only almost!

The Times Desktop Atlas of the World
by Times Atlases
I’ve owned and tried several formats of world atlas in a book, but this is the one I keep coming back to. Not that there’s a huge amount between the Times version or the Collins, they’re both first rate, but this one just seems to work well for me. Bizarrely size is a big issue for me on this, too big and I don’t have the space to have it open next to me without risking a landslide from my desk every time I turn a page, but oddly I also find the less detailed topographical maps at the start of the book to be some of the most useful, in fact it was these I used as inspiration when I creating the black and while pencil drawn maps at the start of my first novel.