Posts tagged ‘London’

January 11, 2011

London the Biography & Thames Sacred River

by Team Riverside

Peter Ackroyd, £16.99 (London), £14.99 (Thames)

The book of London (the clue is in the title) and the book of the River Thames (from sea to source and everything in-between).  Both bestsellers since the day they were published and neither – rightly – looking like losing that crown anytime soon.

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January 9, 2011

The London Cookbook

by Team Riverside

Jenny Linford, £14.99

Food writer Jenny Linford combines her own recipes with those of other food-loving Londoners -delicatessan owners, market stall owners, chefs and restaurateurs – in this celebration of London’s food culture.

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January 9, 2011

Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phrase and Fable

by Team Riverside

Russ Willey, £15.99

The essential London reference book you did not know you needed; a heady, witty and surprising  mixture of the people , places, events, myths, anecdotes and slang.

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January 9, 2011

London Encyclopeadia

by Team Riverside

Ben Weinreb, £30

The most comprehensive book on London ever published, revised and updated with over 6000 entries and 500 drawings, prints and photographs covering all that is relevant to the city’s culture, economy, government and history.  The definitive London reference work.

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January 6, 2011

50 Things to Spot in London

by Team Riverside

 

Usborne, £5.99

A pack of pocket-sized cards to help recognise and learn all about 50 of London’s famous landmarks.  Each card has a detailed illustration, with information, facts and statistics on reverse.

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January 3, 2011

Lost London 1870-1945

by Team Riverside

Special Price: £19.99

A spectacular collection of more than 500 of the best images from the former London County Council archive of photographs, held by English Heritage for 25 years, but by no means a nostalgic lament for the city.


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December 5, 2010

How The Dead Live: Derek Raymond

by Matt

Derek Raymond’s quartet of factory novels feature some of the bleakest descriptions of low life London put down on the page. Raymond manages to conjure in his view of 1980’s Britain a similar sense of morbid detail and helplessness that the painter Walter Sickert captured in his portraits of London’s waifs and strays a hundred years before.  Whilst I am a huge admirer of Raymond’s work and his observations of London changing landscape rival any of those to be found in Iain Sinclair’s writing (there is a chapter dedicated to Raymond in Sinclair’s ‘Lights Out For the Territory’), there have been times whilst reading the factory quartet that I have had to put down the book and walk away, such was the uncomfortable detail of the violence when it inevitably explodes. There are time then, that ‘How The Dead Live’ , the thirds in this series, strangely feels like a breath of fresh air after having your head forced under water.  Like the classic detectives from the golden age of American crime fiction, Raymond’s anonymous charge, in this book, has a real flair for snappy one-liners, wry social observations and there were times, reading this, when I imagined the writer himself doubled over and howling with laughter as he sat behind his typewriter. At times I was reminded of Kenneth William’s diaries, Joe Orton’s plays (and diaries) as well as the philosophy of Sartre and Camus whose combined influences more obviously pervades these books sense of isolation and loneliness.

In this book, our unnamed detective from Scotland Yard’s Unexplained Deaths arrives in the small town of Thornhill to investigate the disappearance of the eccentric (he’s been struck off the list) doctor’s wife last seen, six months before, wandering around town looking like a shadow of her former self, wearing a thick veil, obscuring the lower half of her face.

The morning after he arrives, our narrator, already smelling something suspicious underfoot, and staying in the local B & B, comes down for breakfast to find that he has already missed it. Raymond’s description of the girl behind the switchboard and his dialogue with her is the priceless chatter of classic detectives only Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade had never tried to get up in time  for breakfast in an English B & B.

An old blonde whose head looked as if it had been left behind in a train and whose bra was too big for her breasts sat behind the switchboard. She wore a ring with a big enough stone in it to deter a sex maniac, but had a nose like a pea shooter that would have put him off anyway.

“What was you wanting?”

“Breakfast.”

“Too late!” she crooned triumphantly. “Kitchen shuts sharp at half eight, nothing till lunchtime now. Here,” she said, pointing at a notice board behind her with a finger that looked like it as if it had been borrowed from an archery course, “can’t you read?”

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November 4, 2010

I Never Knew that about the River Thames

by Team Riverside

Christopher Winn, £9.99

Southend pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world

Christopher Winn, author of a whole host of I Never Knew That About… titles turns his attention this time to the Thames – all of it, not just the bit in the middle – in another fascinating and thorough excursion through the trivia and minutiae of history.

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