I'm a sucker for a travel book about my own country. Having a great pride at being English, yet basically no idea what that means, has left me an enthusiastic explorer and reader.
My essential reading list, avoiding weighty tomes and text book feel, would be:
Paul Theroux - The Kingdom by the Sea (1983)
Bill Bryson - Notes from a Small Island (1995)
Jeremy Paxman - The English (1998)
Simon Jenkins - A Short History of England (2012)
To which I now add my current enjoyment, pictured, as Matthew Engel offers a chapter on each of the English counties. I was born in Warwickshire but then found out I lived in the West Midlands, without moving house. Annoying. Still irritated.
It has started a little head game which you might like to join in with. What is the first word that comes into your head when you hear each county name? Some of them just don't bring anything to mind. Many are food. For what it is worth here is my list:
Gloucestershire old spot
Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire accidents hardly ever happen
Staffordshire bull terrier