Just finished Robert Holland - Blue-Water Empire: the British in the Mediterranean since 1800
chronicling the diplomatic and militaristic wranglings of Britain in forming the closed off "British lake" of the Mediterranean (locked down by Gibraltar in the West and, later, the Suez in the East). It traces the colonial history of the various holdings in the region - Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Corfu, the Ionian Islands, Crete, Egypt and Palestine as well as the repeated attempts to put British-friendly monarchs in power in Greece. It also discusses in great detail how British geopolitical strategy alternated between a Mediterranean-centric view of or one that focused elsewhere and the effects of this on the world wars.
I'm now ploughing my way through Þórbergur Þórðarson - Steinarnir tala
, tranlated into English as The Stones Speak
. Þórbergur describes his childhood growing up on a rural farm in Hali, Iceland at the end of the 19th century. We visited the farm and the museum dedicated to him there, and it's really interesting to read about that area we stayed in such vivid detail. I wish more of his books were translated into English - he's a fascinating character who grew up in a simple farming community, was destitute in Reykjavík, found fame as a writer, married a woman and had a long-standing affair with the woman he loved, traveled the world, denounced organised religion, pushed for world-wide adoption of Esperanto, became a communist, studied the occult and renounced communism before dying of a stroke back in Reykjavík