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23 August 2013


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Thank you for this very extensive post on London which resonated so well with me.i have read most of the books you mention and also enjoy The Gentle Author's Spitalfields blog. So many memories are brought back to life and the detail of those 'ordinary'lives is so special not to be lost. Like you I try to get up to London but not as much as I would like to from Herefordshire.
Best Wishes

I loved this post so much I printed it off and am keeping it on my table for further reading. Am linking it for Debora who is a great London money. My particular delight it the Gentle Author. And Peter Ackroyd. And Elizabeth Bowen... and ...Wxx

Some great suggestions - especially Jerry and Rachel's books. Have you seen Lindsey German and John Rees' People's History of London? I enjoy the very evocative writing on the East End by Emmanuel Litvinoff, too. There's also a weekly podcast you might enjoy - Londonist Out Loud (on iTunes or via the Londonist site). I should declare an interest, as presenter. Lucy Inglis' Georgian London is the next on my buylist. I interviewed her recently and brilliantly forgot to ask for a review copy.

Jeni - welcome and I'm so pleased that the list resonated. It isn't complete, of course, and I think I will have to write a part 2 at some point. Good to know that there are others like me, who have settled happily elsewhere but still have that strong sense of connection to London.

Wendy - so good to hear from you and I hope Debora enjoys the list! I'm sure that she could add some of her favourites too.

N Quentin Woolf - delighted to welcome you here and thank you so much for telling me about the podcasts. I follow Londonist on Twitter but wasn't aware of these, so have now signed up to the website. Litvinoff is definitely on my list of authors to be read sooner rather than later and I'll and the People's History of London too.

What a wonderful post, D. You put me to shame when it comes to reading about London, even though there is (was?) a very specific book club in a local library that focuses entirely on books about London. Must pull my socks up.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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