Whenever we travel somewhere, I try and buy a new book. When we went to Seattle last fall I purchased A LOT of books at a wonderful used book store. But more on that another time.
When I was at The Wall last year, I made it a point to go to Waterstones bookstore in Hexham, where I bought two fiction books about soldiers serving on Hadrian's Wall. This year, I bought Hadrian's Empire by Danny Danziger and Nicholas Purcell.
I am just now reading the book and I certainly recommend it. The theme is the Roman Empire in the early 2nd century C.E. The book is a "popular history" and is not a biography of Hadrian. The first part is about Hadrian and how he became Emperor, but the majority of the book tells the reader how people lived during the time of Hadrian. My only criticism is a lack of footnotes and annotations. For instance, the authors quote an ancient writer's description of Hadrian but do not tell us the identity of the author. But that is ok, because if I really want to know about what the ancient writers said about Hadrian, I can read an official biography.
Speaking of Waterstones, I love their bookstores. For those of you unfamiliar with the store (which is probably most of the Americans who may wander by and read this blog) here is their website: