I struck gold in the second-hand bookshop this week, emerging with a catch of three fine books.
The first was Skye, A Traveller's Guide, by Christine Wiener (that's an image of island to the left): full of history, insider details, descriptions, and a selection of traditional recipes. I haven't been able to find out anything much about the author, except she seems to have been obsessed with the Hebrides Islands, writing books about Mull, Arran and Bute, and Kintyre as well as Skye.
Next I discovered a copy of Kilvert's Diary 1870-1879. This is the diary of the Reverend Francis Kilvert, who lived in Wiltshire, England, near the Welsh border. I am fascinated by diaries and in this instance even more fascinated by the history of the published version: when Kilvert died just days after returning from his honeymoon, his widow destroyed all entries that referred to either her or Kilvert's previous girlfriend, leaving just 22 notebooks. A typescript was made from these notebooks but the originals entrusted to family; later one of them destroyed, neglected, or simply threw away most of them. More about Kilvert and his diary in a Guardian piece here.
Finally, there is Love and War in the Apeninnes by Eric Newby. Warning, don't read the wikipedia entry to this book ... it's a complete spoiler! (I'm not even going to give you the link.) The book is Newby's account of his wartime experiences, evading the advancing Germans via a network of Italian peasants.
All 3 books, in one way or another, touch upon the themes of my Shiny New Project, so if I can't write as much as I want to right now, then at least I can give myself some inspiration.