Books about, or set in, London?

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Books about, or set in, London?

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1NickW
Ago 2, 2006, 7:46am

So what are your favourites?

I'm a fan of books with a psychogeographicalflavour - for example Iain Sinclair's Lights out for the Territory : 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London, and London Orbital, or Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

2Wanderlust_Lost Primeira Mensagem
Ago 2, 2006, 9:17am

I'm a fan of novels set in Victorian London (either ones that are contemporary with Victorian times or historical fiction).

I must say that because you're asking me the day after I watched the DVD (and as it is one of my favourite books) I'd have to say "Tipping the Velvet".

:)

3plasticspam Primeira Mensagem
Ago 2, 2006, 1:16pm

Well, High Fidelity in N.London........perhaps it could be because of Football team I support.......Or central London in 1867, when J.Fowles' describes in THE FRENCH LIEUTENANTS WOMAN

4plasticspam
Ago 2, 2006, 1:16pm

Well, High Fidelity in N.London........perhaps it could be because of Football team I support.......Or central London in 1867, when J.Fowles' describes in THE FRENCH LIEUTENANTS WOMAN

5plasticspam
Ago 2, 2006, 1:24pm

i meant FEVERPITCH, but high fidelity too.....sorry 4 post other one twice......whoops

6deliriumslibrarian
Ago 4, 2006, 6:15pm

Maureen Duffy's Capital (I can't find it in the touchstone list) was Iain Sinclair before Sinclair was. Nicholas Pevsner's series on architecture has a fantastic London volume. Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke trilogy is set in Victorian London is great fun, sort of From Hell for kids. My partner recommends a Neil Gaiman comic called Miracleman where people fly around Centrepoint! The London sections of I, Coriander, set during Cromwell's Protectorate, are fantastic. And Orlando and Mrs. Dalloway are paeans to Virginia Woolf's particular and beautiful experience of London.

7Wanderlust_Lost
Ago 9, 2006, 7:16am

I like About a Boy by Nick Hornby (Islington/Angel/Camden, North London)
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue (Central London)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Parts set in Hampstead & St. John's Wood)
And obviously Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby parts of which are set in Highbury.

8Hera
Ago 14, 2006, 6:07am

9Mathew
Ago 16, 2006, 3:06am

London,the Biography by Peter Ackroyd gives all kinds of info about London from interesting perspectives, Little known museums in and around London, I love this town!

10Mathew
Ago 16, 2006, 3:23am

Just saw in Timeout Aug16-23 issue a new book out called London Noir, Capital Crime Ficton edited by Cathi Unsworth. 4 out of 6.

11Hera
Editado: Ago 16, 2006, 4:34am

I forgot about my reference books on London. My favourites are Capital Punishments on London's prisons during the Victorian era, The Map of London which reprints 18th century London maps with current ones, Dickens' London by Ackroyd which has brilliant photographs, several ancient A-Zs from the 30s upwards and various 'glossy' histories with pictures.

I can't believe I forgot about Mayhew; I read a four-volume illustrated London Labour and the London Poor from a local library over a couple of weeks. Definitely on my wish list. I also have an interest in Joseph Bazalgette, Edwin Chadwick and Dr John Snow - sanitation and health is a fascinating topic. The Guildhall Library in the City is an excellent place for maps, books and other reference materials. I thoroughly recommend anyone visiting gives it a go: they let you trace maps and will provide tracing paper and pencils and also have The Times on microfiche (which I've read in its entirety for the years 1846, 1847 and 1848).

12tartalom
Ago 16, 2006, 6:22am

Vis The Times. Most of the borough council libraries subscribe to the "Times Digital Archive." This is a searchable facsimile of The Times from 1785-1985. You can search it from home with your library card.

13NickW
Ago 16, 2006, 11:01am

I forgot about Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke trilogy - I'd add Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - and all the Holmes stories that followed - to quality Victorian London based fiction. I've always enjoyed reading about Holmes and Watson heading out of town to places which are now very much in town...

15BookAddictUK
Ago 25, 2006, 2:25pm

The Great Stink by Clare Clark - a murder mystery set, largely, in the sewers of Victorian London. It's great on the London aspects but sadly the rest of the book is rather weak. I wouldn't care to recommend it.

16tartalom
Ago 25, 2006, 2:53pm

Rivercassini : Just finished the great stink and have to agree. It is very good on facts and figures but is spoiled by a poor plot

17gracie68
Ago 25, 2006, 4:32pm

I recently finished Ian McEwan's Saturday and Peter Ackroyd's The Lambs of London. Saturday was magnificent, despite some issues with the resolution, Lambs was a bit of a disappointment but I understand that he's written some real gems.

18BookAddictUK
Ago 25, 2006, 6:17pm

Tartalom: I'm so glad it's not just me that thinks that way about The Great Stink. It feels so much as though this is a book I really should have enjoyed - it's got all the right elements, but it just doesn't seem to work.

19tartalom
Ago 25, 2006, 6:44pm

No Rivercassini, we are not alone!! Arse gravy of the first degree :) Have you tried The Grass Arena by John Healy? A beautiful book about a life on the streets/ parks of north london in the 1960s.

20Eurydice
Ago 25, 2006, 7:14pm

Gracie68: I just read, and enjoyed, Ackroyd's Chatterton.

21gracie68
Ago 25, 2006, 9:44pm

Thanks, Eurydice. I was hoping for some recommendations. Part of my problem with the book was reading a review that was fraught with spoilers. I was somewhat disappointed when I got to the end and found there wasn't much more to it. My bad, really, and a good reminder of how not to review a book.

The good part was that I've got several recommendations on other Ackroyd works and it really sparked my interest in the Lambs. I am anxiously awaiting delivery of The Devil Kissed Her.

22Eurydice
Ago 26, 2006, 1:22am

I do like Charles Lamb, and have a beautiful copy of their joint Tales from Shakespeare, which I've meant to read. A fascinating pair, really.

Have you read his (Ackroyd's) London: the Biography?

23amandameale
Ago 26, 2006, 8:56am

Recent favourites are: Saturday by Ian McEwan; Kept: A Victorian Mystery by D.J.Taylor; and The Lambs of London by Peter Acckroyd which I admired very much.

24gracie68
Ago 26, 2006, 9:10am

Eurydice-

I haven't read that, nor any other Ackroyd beyond Lambs, but I think that London: The Biography would be a great companion to Dickens' London: An Imaginitive Vision. Two of his novels, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree and The House of Dr. Dee, have been highly recommended.

I think you'll enjoy Tales from Shakespeare when you get around to it (I would love to own the edition with the Rackham illustrations).

25nickhoonaloon
Ago 26, 2006, 11:32am

Anything to do with Sexton Blake or Sherlock Holmes.

Am not keen on Blake`s trips to far-flung posts of the old empire, though i did enjoy The Case of the Stolen Ransom, set in France. Was OK with him going to Scotland or the Midlands. Was not too unhappy with Holmes going to the Midlands or Dartmoor, though Hound of the Baskervilles is clearly inferior to the other stories.

26Esta1923
Ago 26, 2006, 11:32am

All of Russell Hoban's novels take you into modern London. . . and introduce you to people you might have met. Esta1923

27bric
Editado: Ago 27, 2006, 4:33am

One of my favourites is Iris Murdoch's Under the Net, I remember reading it when I lived on Hammersmith Road, and the action of the novel was just outside my window . . . There's a lot of Wartime London in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and of course 80's London in The Line of Beauty
I almost forgot, Diary of a Nobody, the funniest introduction to Victorian London middle-class mores

28nickhoonaloon
Ago 27, 2006, 8:29am

Hera,

You`re not the only who forgot to list Mayhew ! How bad is that !

There`s a great Folio Society edition London Crooks and Characters - brilliant cover design, though could have had better internal illustrations.

29Eurydice
Ago 27, 2006, 6:00pm

Gracie68: It was the fact that this was a copy that reproduced Rackham's illustrations which sold me. :) Though I'd wanted Tales from Shakespeare before.

It was used, and, for me, a Eureka! find. :)

Thanks for the other recommendations.

Has anyone here read Virginia Woolf's The London Scene: Six Essays on London Life? It's newly (re?)printed. I've wanted it very much, and this seems the place to ask.

30nickhoonaloon
Ago 27, 2006, 6:30pm

There was a copy for sale on EBay UK earlier today - sellers user name was hobbygonemad. Auction ending soon though - but no bidders when I looked

31nickhoonaloon
Ago 27, 2006, 6:30pm

There was a copy for sale on EBay UK earlier today - sellers user name was hobbygonemad. Auction ending soon though - but no bidders when I looked

32Eurydice
Ago 27, 2006, 10:40pm

Which book did you mean, nickhoonaloon? The London Scene is only about $11 in a new copy from Amazon - so with shipping from the UK, that one wouldn't come out any better. But I imagine one could benefit a lot on an older copy of the Rackham-illustrated Tales from Shakespeare. Mine was a newish facsimile as well as being used, which helped. I'm a little tired to go look for it; I apologize.

33GirlFromIpanema
Set 6, 2006, 7:08am

Rivercassini: "The Great Stink by Clare Clark"

I found a novel with the same, let's say, setting while on holiday in the UK: Sweet Thames by Matthew Kneale. Haven't read it yet. The introduction of sewers and waste-water treatment in London seem an unlikely topic for an interesting novel, but what I saw when scanning the book piqued my interest enough to buy it and pay for postage back home!

34lunchpoem Primeira Mensagem
Set 6, 2006, 9:21am

Bleak House

To add to that point about Dickens...

35aluvalibri
Set 20, 2006, 12:58pm

London, the Biography and The trial of Elizabeth Cree by Peter Ackroyd are both excellent, even though I prefer the first of the two.
I have to agree with Rivercassini and tartalom, The great stink was disappointing.
Other authors whose descriptions of London I like are (not in order of preference): Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anne Perry (I particularly enjoy books that take place in Victorian London) and, of course, the great Charles Dickens!!!!

36cwalker268
Editado: Set 23, 2006, 4:34pm

GirlFromIpanema - I hope you enjoy Sweet Thames. It was a fun read and certainly helped to bring that era of London alive. If you did like it, I would also highly recommend English Passengers also by Matthew Kneale. I think it's a much stronger book as far as writing / plot go. It doesn't fit this London theme (since it's about leaving england - age of exploration / colonialism / etc.), but it's an excellent book.

As for another book with an interesting perspecive on London, I would recommend Small Island by Andrea Levy (sorry - the touchstone seems to only be pulling up a book club discussion guide). It's an interesting study of race and gender relations, colonialism, and WWII England, and follows four main characters (two British and two Jamaican) as they deal with the war itself and the post-war era.

37BoPeep
Set 23, 2006, 5:52pm

Small Island works - odd that it wasn't working before! Great book, albeit a bit flawed. Brick Lane and White Teeth are interesting if you enjoy that, if a bit different. The Buddha of Suburbia is a London novel too, despite the suburban slant.

38hazelk
Out 2, 2006, 2:48pm

People think Arnold Bennett only set his novels in the Potteries. Wrong. Do try his Riceyman Steps set in 1920s Clerkenwell (well before it was trendy). A little masterpiece.

39hazelk
Out 3, 2006, 2:32pm

I've just thought of some more: how about Angel Pavement by J B Priestley, Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith and even Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga. Some golden oldies there!

40xtofersdad
Out 5, 2006, 12:43pm

Or The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett, believed to be The Savoy Hotel in the Strand by another name; I would check it for other details but it's AWOL.

41nickhoonaloon
Out 6, 2006, 6:25am

I don`t actually live in London (though I did for 9 months whilst working away from home in younger days).

The Priestley recommendation is a good one - I was beginning to think no-one else read him any more.

Anyway has anyone read a book, I think it`s called The Streets of East London by William Fishman ?

42hazelk
Out 6, 2006, 1:44pm

Yes, nickhoonaloon, on the shelf behind me is that William Fishmans' book with photos by Nicholas Breach. Forgot to mention it. Not London theme (sorry), but did you ever read Good Companions by Priestley?.

43nickhoonaloon
Out 6, 2006, 4:01pm

Yes, but a long, long time ago.

I`ve also read Angel Pavement. There are so many good ones by him. I think he is taken for granted and, as you know now, have just started new LT group for Priestley, so we can discuss him to our heart`s content and let these nice people discuss London some more.

On that subject, Henry Mayhew is always worth a read.

44nickhoonaloon
Out 7, 2006, 4:32pm

hazelk

Going back to fishman, have you read any of his others ? I think one`s called Radical something-or other, and another`s called 1885. Don`t know if there are any others.

45hazelk
Out 8, 2006, 5:41am

nickhoonaloon

I think there's East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914 and a more recent East End 1888. I'll try & get second-hand.

46nickhoonaloon
Out 9, 2006, 8:29am

hazelk,

I forgot to ask - did you enjoy the Fishman book you do have ?

47tartalom
Out 9, 2006, 12:57pm

Here's an amazing book in the tradition of Mayhew: 'London Shadows : a Glance at the "Homes" of the Thousands' by George Godwin. Published by Routledge in 1854 it is a campaigning book highlighting the terrible living conditions working class Londoners. Beautiful illustrations of such delights as the Fleet Ditch and tenement housing built over cesspools.
Ragged London in 1861 by John Hollingshead is another excellent book in the same tradition. 1860 was a notably cold winter when temperatures stayed sub-zero for a month. Hollingshead's newspaper, The Morning Post, commissioned this investigative report into the living conditions and survival techniques of the working poor. The result was this beautiful, angry book.

48hazelk
Out 11, 2006, 10:59am

nickhoonaloon

Yes, I did. Probably not quite objective though: having been born in the East End gave it an edge before I turned a page!!

49hazelk
Out 23, 2006, 8:34am

Birdman by Mo Hayder set in south London and Mark Timlin also with south London settings in his Sharman crime books.

50davemack
Out 31, 2006, 3:08pm

Surprised there's been no mention of Martin Amis's London Fields. I'm looking forward to getting my grubby hands on Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map.

51WarlockUK Primeira Mensagem
Nov 14, 2006, 5:58pm

There's also no mention of Necropolis: London and Its Dead which is a fascinating history of how London has dealt with death and the disposal of the dead over the centuries. Makes for fascinating reading.

Also the Roy Porter book London, a Social History gives a glimpse into the socio-economic aspects of living in London.

52cyril_and_methodius Primeira Mensagem
Fev 7, 2007, 11:18am

Though totally ignorant about graphic fiction, I can't recommend Alan Moore's original V for Vendetta enough. In which vein, can anyone recommend overlooked books featuring dystopic/utopian Londons? I can think 1984, Brave New World, and for Utopia there's Morris's News from Nowhere... anyone know of anything less well known?

...And while I'm here, a shameless plug: Smoke: a London Peculiar, featuring all sorts of london-related memoirs, histories, investigations, pretty pictures and general londonalia, is available - last I looked - in Foyles, Borders and various other places, and is really not at all bad. www.smokelondon.co.uk

53hazelk
Fev 7, 2007, 12:05pm

#52: glad you plugged - sounds just up my street. I'll ask daughter to get it for me 'cos 'exiled' to south Yorkshire currently.

Would some of J G Ballard's output fit the bill re dystopian London? Check it out.

54Nenner
Fev 14, 2007, 4:18am

I have quite a collection of London History books now- Liza Picard's books are really very good- my favourite being "Elizabeth's London"- but there are "Victorian London", and "Dr. Johnson's London", too. I, too, like Roy Porter's Biography and would also recommend "The Dreadful Judgement" by Neil Hanson (on the great fire). Dickens' "Scenes of London Life" is another good one- as are his Boz works. I have so many others but those are the ones that stand out to me!

Fiction-wise, Jacqueline Winspear's "Maisie Dobbs" series is really good- Maisie is a nurse turned psychological detective recently returned from the Great War.

Anne Perry's novels are wonderful, too- Victorian mysteries. I particularly like the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series but the William Monk series really gets into the dark recesses of London.

I also have to plug a friend's new book! "The Black Tattoo" by Sam Enthoven which is set in London. Brilliant Book! The very first scene is set very close by to where we used to work on Charing Cross Road- I got goosebumps when I read it!

So much good stuff out there on London- it's such a wonderful city! My favourite!

55hazelk
Fev 15, 2007, 5:22am

#65:Nenner: I have the same tastes as you, so you might want to try the 2007 publsihed book London in the Nineteenth Century by Jerry White. It had excellent reviews so have just received it in the post from Amazon. Let's see.

56aluvalibri
Fev 15, 2007, 7:39am

Hazelk, thanks for the suggestion!!
:-))

57Nenner
Fev 16, 2007, 6:14pm

Thanks, hazelk- I'll take a look at it!

58Bookbox
Editado: Maio 30, 2007, 10:25am

Have you seen the The City of London Cook Book by Peter Gladwin? It is full of lovely quirky facts about London food and dining plus great recipes by Peter Gladwin and a slew of celebrities including Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone.

59vpfluke
Abr 23, 2007, 4:07pm

Geoff Nicholson's Bleeding London is set in London, where the main character attempst to walk the entire A-Z.

60wonderlake
Jun 5, 2007, 9:51am

I sent my sis a copy of The seven days of Peter Crumb by Johnny Glynn* after reading a review which banged on about its Hackney setting- which is where she lives

*Touchstones not working

61vpfluke
Jun 5, 2007, 9:31pm

Other novels laid in London:

Tracy Chevalier: Burning Bright (about William Blake) and Falling Angels - supposedly Edwardian, but I didn't read it.

Dorothy l. Sayers: Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Whimsey detective story).

Jacqueline Winspear: Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, both not read by me (but by my wife).

Susan Howatch: The Wonder Worker. Anglican novel, and laid in the city.

62hazelk
Set 24, 2007, 1:52pm

Just arrived in the post Thames:Sacred River by Peter Ackroyd. When finished it will sit alongside his tremendous London:The Biography.

63aluvalibri
Set 24, 2007, 1:56pm

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey, a nice plot, in Victorian London.

64Esta1923
Set 24, 2007, 4:36pm

London in the Age of Chaucer by A. R. Myers
London in Dickens' Day by Jacob Korg
London 1808-1870: The Infernal Wen by Francis Sheppard

Esta1923

65Esta1923
Set 24, 2007, 4:36pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

66Cariola
Set 24, 2007, 6:41pm

Hmm, no one has mentioned The Crimson Petal and the White yet?

Here are a few more--some of which move to other locations as well.

Minaret by Leila Abulela
Imposture by Bernard Markovitz
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox
The Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman
Lit Life by Kurt Wenzel
City of the Mind by Penelope Lively
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
Vindication by Frances Sherwood
The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi
Life Mask by Emma Donaghue
The Master by Colm Toibin

And of course, there are all those historical novels that take place primarily in the London court.

67Killeymoon
Set 25, 2007, 9:04am

I'm reading Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, also set in London. It puts a whole new take on Angel Tube Station.

68PensiveCat
Set 26, 2007, 10:02pm

#67: I just heard of this book recently - it sounded funny, hopefully it is! Wasn't the Angel Tube Station used in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere also?

69Esta1923
Out 9, 2007, 1:03pm

Britannia Mews by Margery Sharp has a cast whose lives play out against changes wrought in this neighborhood from 1865 to the end of WW2. It is a free-flowing narrative with believable characters whose interactions weave an absorbing story. Esta1923

70aluvalibri
Out 9, 2007, 2:06pm

I read Britannia Mews not long ago and really enjoyed it, Esta1923.

71hazelk
Jul 29, 2008, 3:11am

The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl paints a vivid picture of life in that corner of the city in Jacobean times. I'm racing through it.

72Cariola
Jul 29, 2008, 6:02pm

71> I'm listening to the same book on audio. Fascinating, but I'm finding a lot of redundancy.

73hazelk
Jul 30, 2008, 2:09pm

72>Yes, take your point, but perhaps I'm a London/Shakespeare nerd so less critical of a bit of redundancy in that context than I would be in a book about a first dynasty Chinese emperor.

74Cariola
Ago 1, 2008, 5:17pm

73> Well, English Renaissance Drama is my area of expertise, so perhaps that's why I found a lot of it redundant.

Have you read Nicholls's book on Marlowe? A much more fascinating read, I think.

75hazelk
Ago 5, 2008, 2:40am

74> Yes, next on my list as a matter of fact and look forward to it. Years ago I read A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess and found that an interesting read.

76vpfluke
Ago 5, 2008, 11:32pm

There is All Hallows' Eve by Charles Williams set in London and written during the WWII period. A supernatural thriller with love and evil intertwined. Williams was one of the Inklings.

77Cariola
Ago 6, 2008, 8:06am

78hazelk
Out 21, 2008, 10:27am

74> I did get the Nicholl's book but got rather bogged down with it: in fact, my problem was the one you had with his The Lodger:Shakespeare in Silver Street i.e. redundant information. For the first few chapters I was totally immersed but my interest then tailed off, especially with the detailed careers of erstwhile Cambridge men.

79Moomin_Mama
Nov 2, 2008, 9:35am

A Journal of the Plague Year - fictional account of the 1667 plague in London, but based on actual records that do not exist any more.

The Fields Beneath - a history of the Kentish Town area (where I grew up). Gillian Tindall has a few other London-based books.

Love both books.

80funktious
Editado: Maio 1, 2009, 8:52am

Mother London by Michael Moorcock Absolutely brilliant view of London from the blitz through to the present day, via the Notting Hill riots and sundry other events. Lovely book. Also King of the City by Moorcock, though I haven't read that yet.

Am adding half of the books mentioned here to my wishlist!

81Grammath
Maio 1, 2009, 12:11pm

One that's quite fun is Tim Moore's Do Not Pass Go, which visits all the locations on the London Monopoly board in a light hearted Bill Bryson style.

Some of the best London based fiction currently being produced is by Will Self. He paints the city in a grotesque, almost cartoon-ish way sometimes, but he does capture the flavour of it in, for example "the meaty breath of the Tube". Try How The Dead Live or some of his short stories. He's a taste worth acquiring IMO.

82haidiw
Maio 9, 2009, 9:17am

I've got London. A history in photograps by Ian Harrison, and I vaguely think it has something to do with The Times (but the book is a thousand miles away right now). Another factual book is the london companion by Jo Swinnerton.

As for fiction, I can think of Star of the sea by Joseph O'Connor (Sinead O'Connor's brother, if someone's interested), which is a story related to the Irish famine, but parts of it are set in the East End of London as well.

83mstrust
Maio 9, 2009, 12:14pm

Thanks for the recommendations, Grammath. I've made note of both those authors to look for. I read part of Tim Moore's The Grand Tour years ago but had forgotten all about how funny he is.

84Rach974923
Maio 9, 2009, 2:00pm

The Child in Time and Enduring Love, both by Ian McEwan, are set in London

85Miranda_Paige
Maio 9, 2009, 2:29pm

There is Sovay and I, Coriander and The Red Necklace. All of which are very good. Sovay and Red Necklace are set during the french revolution.

86dtw42
Abr 4, 2010, 4:33am

China Mieville writes what the publisher calls "literary fantasy" – borders toward the gothic/horror sometimes too – but a lot of it is very London-based. I'm in the middle of a collection of short stories, Looking for Jake and other stories.

87Cariola
Abr 4, 2010, 12:40pm

I'm looking forward to reading Sebastian Faulks's newest, A Week in December. It's not only set in London but much of it is on the Circle Line.

88Esta1923
Abr 4, 2010, 1:35pm

One of my best ever books is "Edward Marsh. . a biography" by Christopher Hassall. Its 703 pages are a beautifully written account not only of a remarkable man, but of London in early 20th century. (A companion book, "Ambrosia and Small Beer" adds 359 pages to its wonderful account of time-gone-by.) *** I am delinquent in not having reviewed these (and Hassall's "Rupert Brooke" but hope that listing them here will prompt someone to.)

89vpfluke
Abr 4, 2010, 11:33pm

I've rather enjoyed reading Richard Tames' London: a cultural history. A nice braod sweep, with many interesting facts and insights.

90Teck-Loh
Abr 26, 2010, 12:38pm

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman!

91Esta1923
Abr 26, 2010, 1:33pm

Do not have time to look all thru the thread but must mention if I haven't . . . the many novels of Russell Hoban. Most are set in modern London. All are idiosyncratic, but splendid/unusual books.

92Foxhunter
Abr 26, 2010, 2:29pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

93cocoafiend
Abr 29, 2010, 6:21am

Foxhunter, I bought the Waterstone's guide when I lived in London nearly ten years ago and it is a fabulous resource for London writing.

Other London books I've enjoyed include:

Asta's Book by Barbara Vine - a wonderful multi-generation mystery novel
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - partly set in Victorian London
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd - a murder mystery set in Spitalfields
At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper - a YA novel about the Plague
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson a fascinating book about cholera in London
St. Pancras Station by Simon Bradley about the Gothic Revival bldg that now houses the Eurostar terminal
People of the Abyss, Jack London's study of the 19th century East End
The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys - about Frost Fairs and the like
Peter Whitfield's London: A Life in Maps

I also really loved Rodinsky's Room by Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair, about curating a rediscovered room above a synagogue in Whitechapel. This book generated some interesting spin-offs, including a walking tour guide, Rodinsky's Whitechapel, and an A-Z, Dark Lanthorns: Rodinsky's A-Z Walked Over by Iain Sinclair.

Great London cookbooks include Ottonlenghi: The Cookbook and Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton's Soup.

94BedlamGuest79
Maio 31, 2010, 6:40am

Interesting discussion. I have opened a group enirely dedicated to London in Fiction, where these books can be discussed in more detail, and where we could also have more specific discussions (London in Crime Fiction, Victorian London, London in Children Books etc.).

http://www.librarything.com/groups/londoninfiction

95Foxhunter
Maio 31, 2010, 12:42pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

96BriannaNo2
Ago 6, 2010, 2:53pm

What about London: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd? Found it at a flea market recently, haven't started reading yet, though. But it's huge and retraces London's history from the 11th century. Saving it for my holidays.

And of course the book that made me fall in love with the city when I was little: A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

97riaanw
Ago 9, 2010, 11:59am

Adding to dtw42's recommendation of China Miéville, I have just read and loved his King Rat. A truly outstanding book that brings together ancient myth and modern culture in the bowels of a gritty London.

98Renny31
Editado: Ago 16, 2010, 10:39am

What can I say, I'm a sucker for the classics! I love A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, The String of Pearls, Alice in Wonderland, and I've recently finished the book Alice I Have Been which was awesome and both of them take place in Oxford England. Now I've always dreamed of living in England, but I have a feeling, those stories have had an influence. My mom lived in England before I was born.. Why couldn't she have lived there when I was growing up?! Gosh!

99Grammath
Ago 16, 2010, 6:06pm

#97

I'll second that. Brilliant book.

100dtw42
Ago 18, 2010, 4:48am

Just picked up Kraken for a pound in our internal staff booksale. Doubt I'll get round to reading it for quite a while though...

101Booksloth
Ago 18, 2010, 6:32am

I just finished reading Her Fearful Symmetry, set in and around London's Highgate Cemetery. I thought it was a lovely book with a great sense of place.

102cocoafiend
Set 5, 2010, 3:44am

I enjoyed Travis Elborough's The Bus We Loved about the once ubiquitous Routemaster. Alas, I did not enjoy Her Fearful Symmetry - I will spare you the comparisons to her first novel - though I did enjoy its representation of Highgate, my former 'hood.

103wrichard
Nov 2, 2010, 7:14pm

Bethnal Green Library now have a London Writing book group. Enquire in the library for Richard who can sign you up (subject to normal library procedures)

104hazelk
Nov 19, 2010, 11:53am

Mark Billingham sets his DI Tom Thorne literary thrillers in London. Good writing.

105lydiasbooks
Nov 24, 2010, 11:08pm

103: wrichard, is that only for people who are library members of specific library? I'm a Hackney card holder but Bethnal Green is just outside and into the next borough iirc.
If he's not been mentioned yet, Lee Jackson's historical crime novels are brilliant. All set in London.

106wrichard
Nov 30, 2010, 9:26am

Hackney and Bethnal green have interchangeable cards, so I couldn't see any problem. But ring up the library and ask if you're not sure. I think the staff there will give you a card (on usual proofs and rules) if you ask nicely . Hope this helps

107elkiedee
Fev 23, 2011, 11:16am

Lydia, I'm sure Tower Hamlets libraries would issue you a library card.

A lot of We Had It So Good, Linda Grant's new novel, is set in Islington.

And When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson is set in Belsize Park, I think - if not, it's another part of Camden.

Historical crime recommendations - Laura Wilson's DI Stratton series set in central London and Tottenham during and after WWII. Andrew Taylor's Bleeding Heart Square in central London (Bloomsbury I think).

108elkiedee
Fev 23, 2011, 11:16am

Lydia, I'm sure Tower Hamlets libraries would issue you a library card.

A lot of We Had It So Good, Linda Grant's new novel, is set in Islington.

And When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson is set in Belsize Park, I think - if not, it's another part of Camden.

Historical crime recommendations - Laura Wilson's DI Stratton series set in central London and Tottenham during and after WWII. Andrew Taylor's Bleeding Heart Square in central London (Bloomsbury I think).

109staffordcastle
Fev 23, 2011, 3:02pm

I think no one has mentioned Theodora FitzGibbon's A Taste of London, a lovely cookbook illustrated with old photographs of London.

110kidzdoc
Fev 25, 2011, 7:30am

Hello. I've just joined this group, after noticing it on the Groups page. I've visited London three times in the past four years, and will likely return there in the fall.

I have several books about or set in London that don't seem to have been mentioned here. I've included links to my LT reviews for the ones that I've read (all 4 stars or better).

Medical London: City of Diseases, City of Cures by Richard Barnett: reviewed here, one of my favorite books of medical history, published by the Wellcome Collection

Derelict London by Paul Talling: reviewed here, a collection of photographs about decaying and abandoned buildings throughout the capital

Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne: review

Harare North by Brian Chikwava: review

I'll also read Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire by Iain Sinclair and Real Bloomsbury by Nicholas Murray in the near future.

111Booksloth
Fev 25, 2011, 7:37am

#110 If you enjoyed Medical London I hope your next trip over here includes a visit to the Old Operating Theatre - http://www.medicalmuseums.org/Old-Operating-Theatre-and-Herb-Garret/. Enough to keep you in nightmares for a good year or so!

112kidzdoc
Fev 25, 2011, 8:04am

#111: Thanks for that link. Yes, I'll definitely go to the Old Operating Theatre; it's included as a stop on Walk One of Medical London, which includes maps for each of the six walks and a guidebook for these walks. There is a web site that accompanies Medical London, which includes a five minute video about the Old Operating Theatre:

Mark Pilkington reveals the history of the Old Operating Theatre

113wandering_star
Fev 25, 2011, 8:30am

I recently re-read an old favourite, London Bridges, and found it even better than I remembered!

114Cariola
Editado: Fev 25, 2011, 11:10am

112> The Great Plague is one that you might find interesting.

115Nickelini
Abr 26, 2011, 1:14pm

Lots of mentions of Peter Ackroyd, but I haven't seen a mention of his The House of Doctor Dee. His descriptions of London are so detailed that I could follow the character's route on Google Earth.

116spivs
Editado: Maio 11, 2011, 8:58am

Couple of ideas from me.

London Blues by Anthony Frewin. A standalone thriller/noir which is very evocative of the 1960s.

The Inspector Troy series of books by John Lawton which starts with Black Out.

117lolitaguy
Maio 19, 2011, 10:11am

Here is a list of London-themed books from my library, that I would recommend:
London's sinful secret
Dr. Johnson's London
The Journalist's London
The Changing Metropolis
Victorian London
London in the Thirties
Dore's London edited by Purton
London under London
London the Wicked City
London 1945
Blue Guide Literary Companion: London

118GarySeverance
Editado: Maio 19, 2011, 11:25am

A Dance to the Music of Time - Anthony Powell

Many of the 12 novels in the series are set in London.

119jjmcgaffey
Editado: Jun 5, 2011, 4:57pm

There's the recent Early Reviewers book (now out, along with its sequel) Rivers of London (published in the US as Midnight Riot, for some silly reason). The sequel is Moon over Soho. Weird and wonderful urban fantasy - a young British cop, in London, in modern times, discovers a ghost...and then a lot more from that. He deals, as a policeman, with vampires, magical time travel, the gods and goddesses of London's rivers (whence the name of the first book), lots of ghosts. It's an odd mixture of police procedural and magic - and it really works. I got the ER book and have just bought (not yet read) Soho.

120mlfhlibrarian
Jul 21, 2011, 3:46pm

Has no-one read The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, a wonderful pastiche of Dickens and Wilkie Collins, set mostly in London? Be warned it comes in at over 1000 pages!

Also Occult London which is a reference book along the lines of Booklover's London.

And the series of books about a paranormal investigator by Mike Carey are set in London.

121aluvalibri
Jul 21, 2011, 6:44pm

#120> The Quincunx is one of my favourite books.

122the_dolls_dressmaker
Out 9, 2011, 1:47am

Hear Hear.

Particularly Our Mutual Friend

123jaqdhawkins
Ago 4, 2012, 4:06am

Some nice suggestions in this thread. I've just added Oliver Twist to my books as it's one of my old favourites. Can't beat that one for a taste of Victorian London.

124bkmbooks
Ago 4, 2012, 12:17pm


Abe Books currently has an interesting "Literary Tour of London" on their website (some of the best suggestions are actually in the comments.) Among other things, was inspired to find Gerald Kersh's Fowler’s End and P. B. M. Allan’s The Book-Hunter at Home available for $1/Free for the Kindle…

http://www.abebooks.com/books/city-dickens-holmes-novels/literary-london.shtml

125Cariola
Ago 4, 2012, 5:40pm

124> Thanks for the great link. I was happy to see Brick Lane, White Teeth, and The Buddha of Suburbia on the list.

I'd definitnely add A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks and A Far Cry from Kensington.

126kidzdoc
Ago 5, 2012, 8:13am

>124 bkmbooks: Foyles Bookshop has a similar list:

http://www.foyles.co.uk/london

127vpfluke
Ago 7, 2012, 12:08pm

Here is a link to books tagged as "London". They are arranged in descending order of ownership within LT: http://www.librarything.com/tag/London .

128vpfluke
Ago 7, 2012, 12:50pm

Here is a link to all the London, England books whose Common Knowledge:Places is shown as London, England. It is a fairly big file with over 4,00 titles shown: http://www.librarything.com/place/London%2C+England%2C+UK .

129staffordcastle
Ago 7, 2012, 5:05pm

As #115 said, lots of mentions of Peter Ackroyd, but I don't see one for his fairly recent book London Under, which looks fascinating.

130jaqdhawkins
Editado: Set 5, 2012, 4:01am

Dickens for me too. I was just watching the musical Oliver a couple nights ago and thought I must read Oliver Twist again, it's been a lot of years.

131jbbarret
Set 5, 2012, 5:45am

From the 1960s I remember (OK, I know that means I wasn't really there) this delightful book by Geoffrey Fletcher, The London Nobody Knows.

For more about Geoffrey Fletcher and his books, see the Wiki page here.

132jbbarret
Set 5, 2012, 5:52am

Again from the 60s, I still have somewhere here The Good Loo Guide, subtitled "Where to Go in London" by Jonathan Routh, "conveniently illustrated" by John Glashan.

More at Wiki here.

133Cariola
Set 5, 2012, 10:54am

I just started NW by Zadie Smith--definitely a London book.

134jbbarret
Set 5, 2012, 5:08pm

I enjoyed Hawksmoor and Chatterton by Peter Ackroyd but have yet to try The Great Fire of London.

135abbottthomas
Editado: Set 6, 2012, 7:07am

>132 jbbarret: The Good Loo Guide - an historical document, probably on a par with Book Lovers' London for listing defunct venues. It gets increasingly hard to find public lavatories in the capital. One, near the Aldwych end of Waterloo Bridge has been converted into some sort of night-club, complete with bouncer.

For the ageing male, I commend the unenclosed pissoirs in the lane behind St Martin's in the Field and at Vauxhall Cross in direct sight of the MI5 headquarters: echoes of less complicated times.

ETA - thinking of spies and urinals reminds me that one - a urinal, that is - rises out of the pavement of Cambridge Circus on weekend evenings. (Google 'Urilift' for more on this!)

136UncleMort
Editado: Set 23, 2012, 3:53pm

Recently read Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch and immediately went out and bought Moon Over Soho ~ excellent novels that live and breathe London.

137staffordcastle
Set 25, 2012, 1:47am

Third one just recently released: Whispers Under Ground.

138Africansky1
Out 3, 2012, 4:32pm

Soft City by. Jonathan Rabin
Literary London by Ed Glinert
Plus see London collection in my library catalogue. Lots of favourites there.

139fictiondreamer
Out 4, 2012, 5:29am

Quiet London, about everywhere in old London town NOT in the tourist books, and only known by Londoners if they look carefully. Not bad, eh?

140mstrust
Out 4, 2012, 2:14pm

>139 fictiondreamer: that one jumped on my wishlist just about a month ago. It sounds so perfect.

141Licesbury
Editado: Nov 8, 2012, 3:41pm

What about Colin Wilson? I loved Ritual in the Dark and Adrift in Soho.

142Robin_Baker
Nov 9, 2012, 5:35am

The Silent Traveller in London by Chiang Yee

A delightful book of essays, poems, drawings and watercolours from the 1930s.

Part 1, London Scene, covers Yee's experiences through the seasons, and in various weather conditions; fog, snow, wind and rain, etc., etc.
Part 1, London Life, includes men, women, children, old age, food and drink, and more.

There's a review at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/jan/12/travel.travelbooks

I've only just noticed that a V&A exhibition of Chiang Yee's work ends today.

143wandering_star
Nov 9, 2012, 7:37am

I saw that exhibition but it was tiny - literally about 8 drawings.

144Robin_Baker
Nov 9, 2012, 7:52am

Thanks. Now I'm no longer disappointed to have missed it.

145Africansky1
Nov 10, 2012, 8:44am

I am interested in Chiang Yee and trying to gather all his books .... They are not so common as they once were. I think that his works are collectable because of the quality , humour, quirkiness and delicacy of his illustrations. he was a traveller of note in his time. Which is your favourite of his books ? I'd appreciate any info as to acquiring books of his that I do not own,

146Novak
Nov 15, 2012, 11:52pm

"Corpse on Clapham Common" by Eric Linklater is one of the most fascinating reads about London in the not-too-distant past.

It's hard to believe only two LT-ers list it. Can see no mention of it anywhere in these threads.

Recomended, get it, read it.

147Maura49
Nov 16, 2012, 1:09pm

I was so pleased to see this thread on Chiang Yee. When living in the US years ago I found his books at the local library and was enchanted by them. I remember being influenced by his The Silent Traveller in Boston when I visited that city, albeit quite a few years after he wrote about it. The Guardian review was the first indication I'd had that his books might be available over here and I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with a unique voice, so thank you Robin_Baker.

148Robin_Baker
Nov 18, 2012, 6:52am

>145 Africansky1: I only have his "London" and "Edinburgh", so can't really claim to have a favourite.
As to acquiring books of his that you do not own, have you tried abebooks. There are quite a number of his books there, including just a few that you might not have.

149Africansky1
Nov 18, 2012, 2:51pm

Thank you Robin for this advice ... Just noticed an interesting article too on Chiang Yee on Wikipedia... With info about his family and life in the USA .

150Maura49
Nov 19, 2012, 5:15am

Thank you- Yes, abebooks will be my first port of call.

151Novak
Nov 23, 2012, 2:20am

Shame.............I was going to write a book called "Dodger".

152wandering_star
Editado: Mar 12, 2013, 11:08am

I've just read a fun urban fantasy called Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch which gives a really good sense of the city, from its historical palimpsest to its vibrant, bustling and diverse modernity.

I bought it entirely on the basis of the cover - unfortunately I can't find any images of it which are high-res enough to see the detail, but here's what it looks like:



The black-and-white part is a word-based map of London, in the same style as this one (don't know if it's the same artist):



The book itself is an urban fantasy about the existence of magic in the world around us. A rather hapless young constable gets recruited as an apprentice to DCI Nightingale, the only policeman in the Met with the responsibility of investigating magical crimes. Nightingale teaches Constable Grant a bit of magic but more importantly explains the secret mystical life of the city around him. Together, they have to track down the source of mysterious outbreaks of murderous rage around the city, while brokering a peace deal between Old Man Thames and Mother Thames - the first a Pan-like bucolic figure who controls the upstream, the second a Nigerian woman who runs the river in the City of London herself, along with all her daughters who each represent one of London's underground rivers.

153Nickelini
Mar 12, 2013, 12:36pm

Okay, the book is going on my wish list, and the cover is going on my Pinterest board for Fabulous Book Covers.

154jjmcgaffey
Editado: Mar 12, 2013, 1:24pm

I read it, quite a while ago, through Early Reviewers under its other (US?) name, Midnight Riot. But the cover was boring (mostly white, with big blurbs) and the final cover isn't much better (pretty generic - silhouette and stencil-look). I _love_ this mappy thing - I'd seen the cover, but had no idea about the words! I'll have to look for it.

Oh, and there's a sequel - which I own but haven't read yet - Moon over Soho. Ooh! And two more I didn't know about! That apparently got similar covers. I am _definitely_ going to seek these out.

ETA Looks like it is the same artist - the piece you show is the cover on the latest book, Broken Homes

155wandering_star
Mar 12, 2013, 7:34pm

Yes, I've just looked at the US cover, and it's terrible. This one does a good job of conveying the London-ness of the book. (I had already seen, and liked, the artists' work as someone sent me a postcard by the same person, covering the whole of South London, including the place where I lived at the time).

156vpfluke
Mar 13, 2013, 5:13pm

I am reading Pastworld by Ian Beck, set in a recreated Victorian London, with criminals, vagrants, and circus people, and visited by Gawkers.

157staffordcastle
Editado: Mar 14, 2013, 5:57pm

I've read the first three in the Rivers of London series (the third one, Whispers Under Ground, was great); didn't know about the fourth one yet - thanks for the tip, Jennifer!

158staffordcastle
Editado: Mar 14, 2013, 6:04pm

Have people read the Laundry series by Charles Stross? Many of them are set in London. It's a series of thrillers set in a version of the modern world where Lovecraftian horrors are in danger of breaking through to our reality. Very well done.

http://www.librarything.com/series/The+Laundry

159kac522
Mar 16, 2013, 12:51am

I loved My East End, a memoir by Gilda O'Neill. I remember laughing a lot.

160Novak
Mar 16, 2013, 4:05am

>159 kac522:. I agree 100%. It had to happen that before long someone would come up with a real book about Real London on this thread. What a fascinating gaze back into the nature of the city and the people who really made it what it is.

Just look at the cover. A genuine unposed photo....such a rare thing these days. What do you see? Three very happy (for the moment, at least) kids, probably returning from a “Jumble Sale” with their swag. Early 1950s ?

But look closer. They are wearing heavy winter coats, so it's cold. Winter....No tights.....no leggings.....no jeans. It is hard to believe that it is going to be years before the girls in the cover shot will have the benefit of the warm clothing we take for granted today. Amazing to realise that the warm clothing will be conceived, designed, manufactured and marketed outside the UK.

It is hard to imagine that in 1947, one of the coldest winters on record, our parents sent us to walk miles to school with bare legs. The little girl on the left looks wrapped up warmer than the other two. They probably regarded her as “frumpy”.

161kac522
Mar 16, 2013, 6:40pm

I read this back in 2000--and it just occurred to me that this is the book that "Call the Midwife" is based upon. Is that right?

162Novak
Editado: Mar 17, 2013, 5:07am

>161 kac522:. I had the same thought, but I don't know for sure.

Kac, you actually watch Brit TV...?? No wonder your TBR is so long.. ..:.. ..:.. :o)

163mart1n
Mar 17, 2013, 5:06am

Apparently not - it's based on Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth.

164kac522
Editado: Mar 17, 2013, 1:57pm

>162 Novak: I watch whatever Brit TV our local (Chicago) public broadcasting stations air.

>163 mart1n: Thanks for setting me straight. But look at the review on the main LT page for My East End--I think it's for Call the Midwife, and had me confused.

165cbl_tn
Mar 17, 2013, 2:40pm

>161 kac522:-164 It looks like a combining problem. I'll see if I can fix it.

166stringcat3
Editado: Out 15, 2013, 3:32am

Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May mysteries are driven heavily by one detective's encyclopediac knowledge of London history, architecture, folklore, crimes, personalities, topography, etc. This aspect is often more interesting than the mystery itself. The Water Room, for example, was based on London's forgotten rivers, now paved over and diverted into the sewer system. Full Dark House bounces between the Blitz and present day, with London theater as the scene. There are nine books in the series thus far.

167jaqdhawkins
Abr 17, 2013, 11:01am

Oliver Twist and Jack Dawkins are brilliant books for getting a taste of London in Victorian times.

#157, Whispers Underground has been recommended to me before. Sounds interesting.

168vpfluke
Abr 18, 2013, 8:55pm

I have just started reading The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. It features a Beefeater of the Tower of London and a menagerie coming into being.

169jjmcgaffey
Abr 18, 2013, 9:14pm

It's very Tower of London (though I don't know how accurate it is, even for the physical place), but not so much London itself. Well, some bits about the Tube. Very much focused on characters (who are universally weird), not so much on place (except weird bits in the Tower...especially the ghosts). I've read it (obviously) and didn't think of it in relation to this topic. But yeah, it technically fits...

170staffordcastle
Abr 21, 2013, 5:14pm

Did you like it?

171jjmcgaffey
Abr 21, 2013, 7:36pm

Um. I very much dislike that style of book - I was expecting a Durrell (Gerald) book and got a Durrell (Lawrence) type. That said, it was interesting, I liked the end (happy ending...sort of), and I remember it quite well though I think I read it over a year ago. So...sort of?

172Africansky1
Maio 9, 2013, 3:19pm

Just had the pleasure of reading and taking the time to write a review of Building London the Making of a Modern Metropolis by Bruce Marshall. Wonderful collection of photographs - well organized and a delight. To be recommended to revive flagging London spirits and I am sure London in the spring must be glorious.

173Novak
Maio 22, 2013, 5:49pm

Very sadly, the only book that is now relevant to London 2013 is “LONDONISTAN” by Melanie Phillips.

174vpfluke
Maio 23, 2013, 10:05am

Londonistan was published in May 2006 -- is it still relevant today?

175Novak
Maio 23, 2013, 11:18am

174>

Have you read your newspaper today.?

176vpfluke
Maio 23, 2013, 11:29am

Sorry, I woke up in a fog this morning on Long Island. I went to Google News and saw the two top headlines:

1. Obama speech to outline counter-terrorism policy.
2. London attackers known to British security service.

I guess my question now would be: how would one extend what Melanie Phillips wrote in 2006, or what similar book has been written in the last 18 months that you might recommentd?

177ScarletBea
Maio 23, 2013, 12:35pm

Let's be a big optimist.
If you like the tube, then Tunnel Vision is the book for you :)

178mart1n
Ago 26, 2013, 4:07pm

I can recommend a book I've just finished - it's an urban fantasy/police procedural... and it isn't Rivers of London again! But if you enjoyed that, you'll probably like London Falling by Paul Cornell.

179bkmbooks
Editado: Ago 27, 2013, 11:26am

May be an odd recommendation, but if anyone likes psychological thrillers, Nicci French's Frieda Klein series focuses quite a bit on 'physical' London. The heroine does a lot of late-night walking and the author(s) give a lot of historical detail on the various neighborhoods and landmarks.

Blue Monday is the first.

180anisoara
Ago 28, 2013, 7:01am

Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square is a great evocation of (just) pre-WWII London.

181jjmcgaffey
Ago 28, 2013, 1:46pm

Hmmm. It's not actually a novel (only semi-fictional), and not primarily about London (though there are some scenes and events) - but as an evocation of English life just pre-WWII (overlapping to the beginning of the war), Jan Struther's Mrs. Miniver is great. Also fantastic language and images (if you've seen the movie - forget it, completely unrelated).

182Booksloth
Ago 29, 2013, 6:29am

#180 As is almost everything else Hamilton wrote. The Gorse Trilogy and Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky are almost pefect portrayals of the bleakness of post-war London. Thanks for reminding me anisoara!

183annejacinta
Out 22, 2013, 5:13am

I have just read Madelaine St John's "A Stairway to Heaven", set in maybe Islington in 1990s. She creates her settings very well - roads, house, interiors, are all part of developing events and more importantly, emotions. Great writing by an Australian living in London for her adult years.

184annejacinta
Nov 2, 2013, 7:17pm

The Love Charm of Bombs, by Lara Feigl. Non fiction, covers 5 writers experiences of London in the war years. A fascinating read.

185vpfluke
Nov 5, 2013, 3:07pm

#184

Here are the touchstones for the book you mentioned. LT is supersensitive to spelling and punctuation, unfortunately.

Love-charm of bombs: Restless lives in the second world war by Lara Feigel

186Nickelini
Nov 5, 2013, 3:50pm

#183 - do you perhaps mean A Stairway to Paradise? Sounds great but I'm having trouble finding a copy.

I'm also looking for recommendations on London books featuring immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Please speak up if you know of any.

187annejacinta
Nov 5, 2013, 5:00pm

Thanks vpfluke, I have been wondering why I can't make a touchstone, will pay closer attention next time!

188jjmcgaffey
Nov 5, 2013, 9:16pm

I think some of Peter Dickinson's mysteries have African immigrants...note that he's often writing in a slightly alternate London, so there are some weird elements. I'm trying to remember which one had the house full of people - though those may have been Eastern European...

Bah, can't remember. Check his stuff out - he writes weird mysteries set in London and its suburbs. Some of them _may_ feature sub-Saharan African immigrants, or not - it's only a vague impression. But good books anyway.

189wandering_star
Nov 6, 2013, 11:05am

jj, you may be thinking of The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest? If I remember rightly they were Pacific Islanders.

190Nickelini
Nov 6, 2013, 11:40am

#188, 189 - well, I'll at least give him a look. Thanks for the recommendation.

192Moomin_Mama
Nov 6, 2013, 8:09pm

>186 Nickelini::

Harare North, about Zimbabweans in London?

193kidzdoc
Nov 7, 2013, 6:08am

>186 Nickelini:, 192 I agree; I enjoyed Harare North.

194Nickelini
Editado: Nov 11, 2013, 5:16pm

Since this past July, I've started a personal challenging of reading London decade by decade. Books can be set in the decade or written in it, but London has to figure prominently in the book for me to count it. This is what I've read so far:

2010s:
2000s: A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
1990s:
1980s: Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd; What a Carve Up!, Jonathan Coe
1970s: An Experiment in Love, Hilary Mantel
1960s: Offshore, Penelope Fitzgerald
1950s:
1940s:
1930s:
1920s:
1910s:
1900s:The Children's Book, AS Byatt; Night & Day, Virginia Woolf
1890s:
1880s:The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
1870s:
1860s:
1850s:
Pre-1850s:
1600s: Conceit, Mary Novik

I have books in my TBR that will fill in all those blanks--I just have to find time to read them.

195anisoara
Nov 17, 2013, 4:30am

What a fun challenge! I hope you'll keep posting here as you fill in the decades.

196bkmbooks
Nov 17, 2013, 9:46am

That looks like a great challenge, Nickelini - I hope you'll keep posting the updates.

Noticed two new-ish 'London diaries' out recently, not read but on my wishlist for now...

A London Year by Travis Elborough
Becoming a Londoner by David Plante

197bkmbooks
Editado: Nov 17, 2013, 9:47am

Delete - dupe

198DFSkertchly
Nov 29, 2013, 8:09am

Essa mensagem foi considerada abusiva por vários usuários e não mais será mostrada. (mostrar)
My book "Baker & Son" is set in London's East End pre and during World War 2. It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format and I hope you enjoy it.
D F Skertchly

199DFSkertchly
Nov 29, 2013, 8:15am

Essa mensagem foi considerada abusiva por vários usuários e não mais será mostrada. (mostrar)
My book "From The East End to Korea via D-Day, A Soldier's Life and Loves" contains much description of life in London prior to World War 2 and the British Army during and after the war. It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format and I hope you enjoy it.
D F Skertchly

200Cariola
Nov 29, 2013, 8:16am

198> Solicitation is against Library Thing's rules.

201UncleMort
Maio 12, 2014, 12:35pm

Recently read London Falling by Paul Cornell Starts as a conventional police operation but quickly develops/descends into the supernatural. Lots of dashing round London and, being a West Ham United fan myself, I really enjoyed the football and Boleyn Ground connection.

202Polaris-
Maio 15, 2014, 4:02pm

>201 UncleMort: - Hello my fellow Hammer! As a lifelong lover of the boys in Claret & Blue you've immediately intrigued me with London Falling. Can you tell a little more about the book's connection to the Irons?

203UncleMort
Jul 3, 2014, 12:27pm

Sorry, don't often pop in to "Talk" so missed your question.

Telling you more about the connection would involve spoilers. Still, by know you might have read it.

204lolitaguy
Editado: Ago 3, 2019, 10:47am

London Fog: The Biography is an awesome and instructive read. The author discusses the role of London fogs in various works of literature. In a similar vein A Mighty Mass of Brick and Smoke: Victorian and Edwardian Representations of London (DQR Studies in Literature ; No. 41) discusses the role of London landmarks and settings in English literature. Both are scholarly works. Slow reads (not because they are tedious, they are great, but they offer much food for thought, so I like to go over paragraphs and sections several times).

205Nickelini
Ago 3, 2019, 12:42pm

>204 lolitaguy:

Sounds interesting!