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Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

Znojmo, Czech...
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Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

Booking hotels, flights and tickets of all sorts. Sitting hours, hours and more hours browsig all sorts of web sites - TALF among the both most frequented a useful ;-). Such is the way to prepare oneself for trip. Reading, thinking, writng itineraries - then reading some more....and which version of itinerary did we have already?

Well it may be a good time to just try relax. Of course diverting our minds very far from London could prove difficult ;-). So why not wander the streets, parks or riverbank with book and cup of good tea?

I suppose many here do just that, provided we drag ourselves far enough from keyboard and monitor ;-).

What are the books you reach for in such rare occasion? ;-)

I just started reading H V Morton's In search of London. I liked his style interweaving simple narative with historical backroound and bits of stories in both Traveller in Rome and Traveler in Italy. I found very interesting Peter Ackroyds London: The Biography. It is one of there book which can really extend list of places to look at and walk around while in London. (I read even Ingwoods History of London, but that is a bit diffrent sort of book ;-) ).

So may you share your favourite books?

Texas
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1. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

I am currently reading Nairn's London, A Common Reader's London Library Edition, an iteresting take on Londons architecture by Ian Nairn who also contributed to Pevsner's Buildings of England

USA
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2. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

"In Search of London" is my favorite London book. It has aged well.

Ipswich, United...
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3. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

It is so refreshing to read a post from someone who clearly likes to read in depth about the places you are visiting. I also found Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography extremely good, and would recommend that visitors to London read that if no other.

How different your attitude is, Marcus, from those who can't even buy themselves a basic guidebook to peruse before they come! At the very least you'd think they'd want to google for a map of the city to get their bearings and to see exactly where their hotel is located.

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4. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

A recommended good read:

Christopher Hibbert - London - The Biography of a City

Ipswich, United...
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5. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

Come on you lot! When I saw this post I thought it one of the most potentially interesting I had seen in a long time. Something for people who visit a city because they are interested in it, not because it's something they feel they have to 'do'. Yet only four replies in two days! Yet a question about the merits of one chain hotel versus another gets forty replies. Clearly, the hotel seems to be more important than the city.

As I suspected, Marcus asked his question in vain. Far from reading up on the places they are visiting (even the brief history and other information provided in a guidebook), it seems the vast majority of visitors are content to skim the surface as long as they can say they've been (and stayed in a lovely hotel ). They leave little the wiser (other than some questinable facts they've picked up from some rediculous old beefeater). Even basic research seems to be too much. How else can you explain the stream of how-far-is-my-hotel-from-Buckingham-Palace type questions on this site?

Please, visitors and potential visitors, convince me that my grumpiness is without foundation.

Texas
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6. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

marcus cz, I would very much like to know roughly what you have planned for your itinerary then hopefully we can suggest suitable reading material. Personally I get a lot of information about London by reading articles from online editions of British newspapers.

Wansteader I'm going to follow your lead and take an A-Z with me on my travels through Londons suburbs.

Newcastle, Maine
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7. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

Thanks to a tip on here, courtesy of Cubechick, I am now immersed in "London" a novel by Edward Rutherfurd and it's excellent! Traces the history of the city from Roman times through the ages until the 20th century, beginning and ending with the River. Definitely gives you something to think about when you're there, the many layers of history that built this amazing city!

North of Chic
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8. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

Thanks for the post, Marcus

Before our Christmas trip I read both Churchill's "History of the English Speaking Peoples" and Dicken's "A Child's History of Britain". London Tower, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey the markets, seemed all the richer and so welcoming.

Loved our trip all the More!!!

Right now am reading "The Pleasure of Poetry", Niclolas Nelson's enjoyment of Brit's poetry from Donne to Burns. Insightfull

And Seth Lerer's "Inventing English". Don't mean to be too heady here but these just plain deepen our appreciation for the grit and downright joyous humour of these people, We LUV London and the way it got here, some trip ;~) A tapestry woven by folk who love their language and their land.

Off to the library now to pick up the selections you all have recommended.

Good online short reads are the trip reports by "Thamesman" and the walks of "Mick67" right here on London Forum.

I vote for Mick to take his camera and walk the hidden London with Thamesman!

S. Doolittle

Ottawa, ON
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9. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

In addition to the Ackroyd and Hibbert books, I have Roy Porter's "London- A Social History" and Francis Sheppard's "London- A History". And there is also Philip Ziegler's "London at War", with the classic photo on the dust cover of the two men in suits and hats browsing the stacks in the bombed out Holland House library.

For something a lot lighter (and not as good as it should be or could have been), Anna Quindlen's "Imagined London".

Hope that makes you feel a bit better, Wansteader.

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10. Re: Browsing the bookshelves: favourite/suggested reading?

Wansteader,

It wasn't always like this. The thread below from last year has 14 pages about books that people were reading.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k40185…

I can also recommend Peter Ackroyd's London: A Biography. I haven't yet read In Search of London but having read a couple of pages on the Amazon website, i think I'll buy one.

There's was another book I read last year about a house next to the Globe and it traced the history of the people who had lived in that house as well as a general history of the Bankside area. I'll find out the name of it and post back later.