When I first met the Scottish Lad, practically the first thing out of my mouth was some version of a question that many Brits find terribly intrusive: What do you do for a living? People wonder why the British talk constantly about the weather. Here’s a hint: Every other topic of conversation is considered rude at best or taboo at worst! I didn’t know my question was intrusive because I hadn’t read a bunch of books on British etiquette and culture. Again, I thought I had no need of them. Again, I was wrong. Here are some titles I have since read. You, too, can educate yourself so you don’t make the mistakes I did!
Many Americans apparently want to (and do) marry British people. At least two of them have written revealing books about living in the land of their mates. The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall and Erin Moore’s That’s Not English cover some similar territory, but the latter book explores English and American cultural differences with a focus on language. Moore titles each chapter with a word and then delves into what it means for each country. You’ll get the scoop, for example, on why the English seem to dislike “gingers” while Americans generally find redheads attractive (although an American friend of mine who has beautiful red hair was teased mercilessly in school because of the color of her locks). Other chapters include Knackered, Whinge, Bloody and Dude.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Scots and Welsh are the same as the English! To get an understanding of Scottish life and culture, as well as practical tips on living in or visiting Scotland, read Culture Shock! Scotland. For a glimpse into Welsh life, try A Writer's House in Wales by Jan Morris.
For even more books to help you navigate the British cultural waters, try these.