With tourists pouring into to the city and the wonders of the opening ceremony still blazed into our eyes, there has never been a more exciting time to live in London. Whether the patriotic spirit has been forged along with the Olympic rings in the opening ceremony or you are a lifelong lover of London life, subscribing to the Samuel Johnson ideology that ‘When a man is tired of London he is tired of life’, this summer is the perfect time to indulge in the literary landscape of London. Whilst for the tourists what better way to prepare for and experience the city than armed with a phalanx of guidebooks? Here is a selection of books for both the curious local and the inquisitive visitor.
By Museum of London
Dewi Lewis Publishing, h/b, 9781907893032, £19.99
Street art thrives in London and this beautiful collection of photography from the Museum of London’s archives provides a unique look at the city, spanning over a century of London life. Over 70 photographers have captured the minutiae of everyday city life in the markets and the backstreets along with the street scenes that defined a generation: the armistice and the Jubilee to the punks and the teddy boys.
By David Stewart White
Roaring Forties Press, p/b, 9780984623921, £12.99
Anyone attempting to navigate the streets of London with a couple of children in tow will know that it can be a hellish experience. Trying to juggle a toddler, a buggy and a whiny six year old is enough to bring any parent out in a sweat and mixing that with the complications of the tube can be a recipe for disaster. For any families planning a trip to London a guidebook can be the difference between holiday heaven and holiday hell. Let’s Take the Kids to London is packed full of child friendly activities and places to eat and stay. An indispensable guide for any family visiting the capital.
Crumpled City Maps- Adult &Junior Bundle
Palomar Srl, map, 9788897487296, £18.99
An innovative and practical solution to the London rain. No more soggy torn maps which quickly slide into illegibility at the first sign of drizzle, instead these waterproof and tear proof maps are designed to survive even the roughest of treatment and can be crumpled easily into a pocket without fear of rendering them unreadable. The adult version contains detailed topography and key sights whilst the children’s version provides a fun, colourful map for flights of fancy in London.
By Clayton Littlewood
DWB Press, p/b, 9780957029118, £10.99
A hilarious collection of Soho characters and tales that dives into the very heart of this much mythologised area of London. Clayton Littlewood’s stories of Soho life provide a snapshot of modern London; this is a Samuel Pepys diary for the Soho subculture which will delight locals and tourists alike.
I Love Mel, p/b, 9780957005624, £7.50
Whether taking inspiration from the sights or letting fancy run loose and creating a surrealist London landscape, Colour Me Good London offers line drawings of London landmarks to be filled in with whatever the creator decides. This unique gift book is an ideal souvenir for children to remind them of their trip or an amusing present for the creatively minded Londoner.