Friday, 10 March 2006

Waterstone's London Reading Map

Waterstone’s, one of the major British book shops has just come out with a brilliant idea: a London Reading Map, a map that identifies 100 books that are related to London and what part of the city they bring to life. Or, in their own words:

For centuries London and the people it attracts have provided a fertile muse for writers from all over the world. From Chaucer to Zadie Smith, the evolution of the city has been documented and retold through the stories of hundreds of fictional characters. They lead us through time, along streets of medieval drama, Dickensian squalor and into the modern day. And every postcode, every character, every book, tells a different tale of London life.

You don’t need to be a Londoner to experience the glamour and the grubbiness of this city. Through the pages of great works of fiction we can encounter the lives or murderers, lovers, petty thieves and dreamers and experience the sights, sounds and smells that evoke this great city.

Dr Johnson’s view that ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’ certainly seems to hold true as the city continue to inspire, captivate and enthral readers and writers alike.

This is by no means a comprehensive record of London writing but here are 100 of our favourite books and some of the locations that they bring to life.

The list is interesting and includes all sorts of genres so it should be of interest to anybody. Of course, the subliminal message from Waterstone’s is that you can buy all those books from them but it is a great idea nonetheless. For those who don’t live in London, here is the list, in order. They highlight the first 30 as ‘essential London reads’:

  1. Aldgate / Walthamstow: Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
  2. Baker Street: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. Blackfriars: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  4. Bloomsbury: Maurice by E. M. Forster
  5. Bloomsbury: New Grub Street by George Gissing
  6. Borough High Street: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  7. Brixton: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. City / West End: The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  9. Clerkenwell: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  10. Clerkenwell: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  11. Covent Garden: The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell
  12. Covent Garden: The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling by Henry Fielding
  13. Earl’s Court: Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
  14. Grosvenor Square: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  15. Hampstead Heath: Dracula by Bram Stoker
  16. Hampstead Heath: 1984 by George Orwell
  17. Holborn: The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
  18. Holloway: Diary of a Nobody by George and Weeden Grossmith
  19. Kensington Gardens: Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J. M. Barrie
  20. Kensington: The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
  21. Kingston Upon Thames: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
  22. Limehouse: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  23. Newgate: The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay
  24. Portobello Road: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  25. Smithfields: The Diary of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys
  26. Soho / Greenwich: The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad
  27. Southwark: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  28. St. Paul’s Churchyard: Fanny Hill by John Cleland
  29. Westminster: The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
  30. Westminster: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  31. Baker Street: A Metropolitan Murder by Lee Jackson
  32. Baker Street: Metroland by Julian Barnes
  33. Battersea Park Road: The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment by Isabel Losada
  34. Belgrave Square: A Dance to the Music of Time: Autumn by Anthony Powell
  35. Belgravia: A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
  36. Borough / Lant Street: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  37. Brick Lane: London Dust by Lee Jackson
  38. Brick Lane: Brick Lane by Monica Ali
  39. Brick Lane: Girl from Brick Lane by Sally Worboyes
  40. British Museum: Possession by A. S. Byatt
  41. British Museum: The British Museum is Falling Down by David Lodge
  42. Brixton: East of Acre Lane by Alex Wheatle
  43. Brixton: The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
  44. Brixton: The Colour of Memory by Geoff Dyer
  45. Bromley: The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
  46. Camberwell: Camberwell Beauty by Jenny Eclair
  47. King’s Cross Station: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  48. Chelsea: Millenium People by J. G. Ballard
  49. Chiswick: The Witches of Chiswick by Robert Rankin
  50. Clapham / Westminster: Mr Phillips by John Lanchester
  51. Clerkenwell: The Clerkenwell Tales by Peter Ackroyd
  52. Cleveland Street, W1: Saturday by Ian McEwan
  53. Covent Garden: Jack Maggs by Peter Carey
  54. Deptford: A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess
  55. Ealing: The Last Ealing Comedy by Matthew Bayliss
  56. Earl’s Court: Small Island by Andrea Levy
  57. Elephant & Castle: 253 by Geoff Ryman
  58. Embankment: The Cryptographer by Tobias Hill
  59. Euston Road: Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky by Patrick Hamilton
  60. Fleet Street: Towards the End of Morning by Michael Frayn
  61. Fulham: The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks
  62. Greenwich: London Irish by Zane Radcliffe
  63. Hanover Square: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  64. Highbury: Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
  65. Imperial College: Ann Veronica by H. G. Wells
  66. Kensington Gardens: Kensington Gardens by Rodrigo Fresan
  67. Knightsbridge: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  68. Marylebone: Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster
  69. Mayfair: Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
  70. Mayfair: Jeeves and Wooster Omnibus by P. G. Wodehouse
  71. Notting Hill: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
  72. Notting Hill: Daydream Girl by Bella Pollen
  73. Notting Hill: The London Novels by Colin McInness
  74. Notting Hill: Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell
  75. Notting Hill: Other People’s Marriages by Shane Watson
  76. Paddington: 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie
  77. Paddington / Windsor: Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
  78. Park Lane: Penniless in Park Lane by Carole Morin
  79. Piccadilly: Piccadilly Jim by P. G. Wodehouse
  80. Portobello Road: London Fields by Martin Amis
  81. Primrose Hill: Primrose Hill by Helen Falconer
  82. Primrose Hill: The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
  83. Regent’s Park Zoo: Look At It This Way by Justin Cartwright
  84. Regent’s Street: Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald
  85. Shepherd’s Bush: Making Love: A Conspiracy of the Heart by Marius Brill
  86. Soho: Robinson by Chris Petit
  87. Soho: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  88. Soho: The Long Firm by Jake Arnott
  89. Spitafields: Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
  90. Stoke Newington: How the Dead Live by Will Self
  91. Trafalgar Square: The London Pigeon Wars by Patrick Neate
  92. Waterloo: Necropolis Railway by Andrew Martin
  93. Westminster: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
  94. Westminster: Kitchen Venom by Philip Hensher
  95. Westminster: The House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
  96. White City: Wite City Blue by Tim Lott
  97. Whitechapel: Foxy-T by Tony White
  98. Willesden: White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  99. Willesden: The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith
  100. Wimbledon: The Light of Day by Graham Swift

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