London Recommended Reading
“By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.” ~ Samuel Johnson
Changing Stages: A View of British and American Theater, Richard Eyre, Nicholas Wright, 2001 — Ignore the American portion of the title and indulge in this fascinating, exhaustive, insider’s look at 20th century British theater, from London’s Royal National Theater’s Eyre and Wright.
Life of Johnson, James Boswell, 1791 — Considered among the great biographies, this 18th century English-language classic is something every well-read soul should vow to read someday. Why not now, when you have the time to connect with this shrewd diarist whose own personality so greatly casts a shadow on his French-hating literary subject?
London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd, 2006 — Novelist/biographer Ackroyd’s encyclopedic, anecdotal – and weighty – take on the capital from pre-Roman history to the present.
Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now, Craig Taylor, 2013 — A collection of stories celebrating and bemoaning the British Capital and those who “love it, hate it, live it, left it, and long for it.”
Tea and Cake London, Zena Alkayat, 2011 — A sweet picture book highlighting the city’s best places for quick or leisurely tea breaks.
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens, 1850 — In the author’s most autobiographical work, the title character comes of age in 19th Century England – and survives to find a measure of marital happiness against many, many odds.
Saturday, Ian McEwan, 2004 — One day in the life of McEwan’s well-to-do neurosurgeon who collides with a London thug reveals the shaky underpinning’s of London’s modern man in accessible, sophisticated fiction.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels and 56 Short Stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1986 — Give meaning to your stroll down Baker Street, and re-awaken your rational powers of observation, by reading this grand-daddy of all detection fiction that still reverberates today – even TV’s “House” is wordplay on our hero “Holmes.”
The End of the Affair, Graham Greene, 1951 — Greene’s heady spiritual romance (made into a movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore) follows the adulterous liaison between a novelist and a married woman, brought together by WWII, and separated by German bombs and God’s will.
Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray, 1847-48 — A satirical novel, which was first published in serial, about the opportunistic heroine Becky Sharp, whose steep rise in society comes at great cost.
Madeleine in London, Ludwig Bemelmans — The escapades of the charming young French schoolgirl’s first visit to England.
This is London, Miroslav Sasek, 1959 — This children’s classic, which introduced a generation of children in the 1960s to London, was reissued in 2004. Its charming illustrations and text provide a wonderful tour of the city, its inhabitants and its monuments.
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