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Books about London: What’s your favourite?


The last time I was in London I was 20. It’s been about eight years between jaunts, but I will be returning to London very soon. For many Australians, London represents the pinnacle of the ‘lost homeland’, but for many people with Scottish heritage, I was brought up to treat London and England with caution and discontent. Stories from grandfathers passed through our family like Chinese whispers, and I arrived in London for the first time with apprehensions.

If I am going to be blunt, London is not my cup of tea. The city is big, rainy, dirty, generally overwhelming. I never grew up in a city the size of London, so it is definitely a shock to the system. This is the England I prefer…

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That does not actually mean, I really prefer ruins, rather, that I prefer the peace and space of the countryside. This is a picture from Edale, which is an hour or so outside of Sheffield.

The strange thing about London, is that I end up reading a lot of books set in London. London has beguiled authors for centuries (for reasons sometimes unknown to me??). The city of London has become like a literary character for me, and maybe that’s why I was so disappointed with the fantastical character when I saw it up-close and personal?

To get in the mood for my London return, I though I would share some of my favourite books set in London, about London, and Londoners.

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Capital by John Lanchester

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The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

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The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

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Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (Although almost any Dickens will satisfy your London needs).

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The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi

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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

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Brick Lane by Monica Ali

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Wise Children by Angela Carter

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The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

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White Teeth by Zadie Smith

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life After Life by Kate Atkinson

This is by no means a final list of all the books about London, but it is a list of books that I have read about London over the past few years. Many of these books are featured in my List of Book Reviews, so if you want to see what I thought, click on the link to find out more.

What are your favourite book/s about London? And do you ever pick a book based on its location? Remember to share the reading love.

 

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