Themes we've explored

In between seasons on The Queen's Reading Room, we pick a theme to explore in greater detail.

Diaries and diarists

June 2023 - July 2023


    By Various Authors

    An interlude dedicated to diaries, both fictional and real, and their use by authors from Samuel Pepys to Helen Fielding as a brilliant vehicle for storytelling. Explore a selection of diarists who have altered perceptions, encouraged thought, recorded social change or have simply made us laugh.

Plays and playwrights

March 2023 - April 2023

A Very Christie Christmas

December 2022 - January 2023

    A Very Christie Christmas

    By Agatha Christie

    A fascinating journey into the greatest mystery writer of all time, Agatha Christie, as we explore her life, her work and her extraordinary legacy in the company of some of our favourite authors and actors and Christie's own great-grandson, James Prichard.


June 2022 - July 2022

Poets and poetry

March 2022 - April 2022


    By Various Authors

    An interlude dedicated to all things poetry. Here you will find readings from the poets themselves, brilliant actors and fantastic pupils, who contributed to bringing to life the words of some truly stunning poems from Shakespeare to current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

A Christmas Carol

December 2021 - January 2022

    A Christmas Carol

    By Charles Dickens

    Publish Date: 1843
    Ebenezer Scrooge is an old miser who values money over anything else, including his relationship with his deceased partner Jacob Marley, his clerk, and his nephew. On the night of Christmas Eve, he is visited by the Ghost of Jacob…

Food writing

September 2021 - October 2021

    The Little Library Cookbook

    By Kate Young

    Publish Date: 2017
    Drawing from her favourite works of fiction, Kate Young has compiled over 100 mouthwatering recipes for all meals, from breakfast to dessert. Inspired by classics such as Paddington Bear, The Great Gatsby, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, and…
  • A Half Baked Idea

    By Olivia Potts

    Publish Date: 2019 Awards: 2020 Debut Food Book of the Year - Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards
    Profoundly hit by the death of her mother, Olivia decides, afer five years practicing law as a criminal barrister, to abandon her career and enroll in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts institute. Coping with grief and loss, Olivia…
  • A Book Of Food

    By P Morton Shand

    Publish Date: 1927
    The book is not conceived as a cookery book, but rather an exploration of gastronomy, culinary practices, facts and information about food and cooking. A fascinating journey from flavours to the influences of the Industrial Revolution on English cuisine, to…
  • The Year Of Eating Dangerously

    By Tom Parker Bowles

    Publish Date: 2007
    Filled with childhood memories, scientific facts, trips to exotic markets, and fascinating stories, the book is a culinary adventure across the globe. Eating foods that most deem 'too dangerous', Tom Parker Bowles asks us to rethink what we consider acceptable…

His Majesty recommends

June 2021 - July 2021

    The Battle Of The Atlantic

    By Jonathan Dimbleby

    Recommended by: His Majesty King Charles III
    Publish Date: 2016
    The book tackles the events related to the dramatic Battle of the Atlantic, the longest military campaign of WW2, which ran from 1939 until Germany surrendered in 1945. The conflict over the dominion of the sea was crucial to Britain's…
  • Lustrum

    By Robert Harris

    Recommended by: His Majesty King Charles III
    Publish Date: 2009
    The second instalment in the trilogy dedicated to Cicero, Lustrum follows immediately from Imperium. The book starts at the beginning of Cicero's consulship and ends with his exile, narrating the power struggles of the late Roman republic from the perspective…
  • Travels With Myself And Another

    By Martha Gellhorn

    Recommended by: His Majesty King Charles III
    Publish Date: 1978
    The book is an account of Martha Gellhorn's "best horror journeys", including in war-torn China and the Caribbean, the Soviet Union, Africa, and the Red Sea. These adventurous expeditions, punctuated by narrow rescues and escapes, are written with surprising humour…
  • Napoleon

    By Adam Zamoyski

    Recommended by: His Majesty King Charles III
    Publish Date: 2018
    Zamoyski investigates the rise and fall of one of the greatest political figures in modern history. In this landmark biography, Napoleon is a man, ambitious and tragic, the architect of his own fortune as well as his demise. Through the…
  • Along the Enchanted Way

    By William Blacker

    Recommended by: His Majesty King Charles III
    Publish Date: 2009
    As he arrives in Romania after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, William Blacker finds a medieval world he thought was lost forever. The charm of life in the Carpathian mountains and the Saxon villages is so irresistible…

Children's Classics

March 2021 - April 2021

    Moorland Mousie

    By Golden Gorse

    Publish Date: 1929
    Children's book. The book tells the adventures of Mousie, a pony from a herd on Exmoor, and his friends. Through a series of short stories, illustrated by Lionel Edwards, we follow Mousie from birth to his domesticated life.
  • The Explorer

    By Katherine Rundell

    Publish Date: 2017 Awards: 2017 Costa Book Awards Children's Award
    Children's book. Fred has always dreamed of becoming an explorer. As he crosses the Amazon forest on a tiny plane, he wishes he could be there making great discoveries. When the plane crashes, he finds himself, alongside three other children,…
  • The Children Of The New Forest

    By Frederick Marryat

    Publish Date: 1847
    Children's book. When King Charles I is defeated in the civil war in 1647, four children find themselves orphans after the death of their father, Colonel Beverley. Saved by a local verderer, the children are hidden in a cottage in…
  • Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

    By J. K. Rowling

    Publish Date: 1997 Awards: 1998 British Book Awards - Children’s Book of the Year
    Children's book. The seven books of the saga tell the story of young Harry Potter, who, on his eleventh birthday, discovers he is a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The saga follows Harry, accompanied…
  • Swallows And Amazons

    By Arthur Ransome

    Publish Date: 1930
    Children's book. The book is the first of twelve instalments which make up the Swallows and Amazons series. It narrates the adventures of the Walker children, which take place during the summer holidays on Wild Cat Island and consist of…