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.
Atonement, Ian McEwan, 2001
Readers travel back and forth in time as they learn about the repercussions of a youthful, impulsive decision that shapes the lives of three friends during World War II.
Mrs Dalloway, Virgina Woolf, 1925
London (and especially Westminster) is as much a character as Clarissa Dalloway herself in this superb book that narrates the events of a single day, Wednesday, June 1923, in post-World War I London.
The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn, 2000—2006
Now turned into a Netflix series, this eight-part series about the Bridgerton family’s romances and marriages is a marvelous send up of the London debutant season and Regency customs.
Persuasion, Jane Austen, 1817
Years after breaking off their engagement, Anne and Frederick meet under different circumstances in Austen’s last completed novel.
Possession, A.S. Byatt, 1990
Two scholars navigate England while researching Victorian poets in this romance and mystery novel.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 1813
In one of the most famous novels ever written, beloved characters Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennent experience the highs and lows of courtship in 18th-century England.
Changing Stages: A View of British and American Theater, Richard Eyre and 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.
My Beautiful Launderette, Stephen Frears, 1985
Hanif Kureishi’s witty, thorny, daring drama about interracial male lovers (Gordon Warnecke, Daniel Day Lewis) who confront bigotry when they open a London Laundromat in Thatcher’s England.
Notting Hill, Roger Michell, 1999
Hugh Grant embodies English boyish charm in this winning comedy about a famous American actress (Julia Roberts) whose arrival disrupts a, yes, stuttering bookseller’s romantic life and London neighborhood.
Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright, 2004
In this hilarious zombie romantic buddy movie, the brain-eating undead scour London while slacker Shaun, a humble Londoner, tries to reconcile with his ex. Bloody brilliant!
The Queen, Stephen Frears, 2006
What’s a monarch with a stiff-upper-lip like Elizabeth II to do when her ex-daughter-in-law Princess Diana dies – and she totally misjudges the tenor of the times and her people? Helen Mirren royally deserved her Oscar.
The Battle of Britain, Frank Capra, 1943
The award-winning documentary from the “Why We Fight” series outlines the British war effort against the Nazis post-Dunkirk; meticulous and stirring.
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.